A memorial with 800 buckets appeared alongside the River Thames today, as a stark reminder of the 800 children’s lives needlessly lost each day due to dirty water and poor sanitation.
The installation was created by WaterAid as part of its Untapped appeal, raising awareness of the plight of one in nine children who don’t have clean water and one in three without a decent toilet.
The colourful tribute covered Potters Fields Park in Southwark and was a startling sight, stopping commuters in their tracks. Each empty bucket could hold almost enough safe drinking water required for one child for a week.
Celebrities such as Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and singer Rachel Stevens join WaterAid in asking the British public to give the gift of water this Christmas by donating just £2 a month.
£24 is all it takes to provide clean water for a child for life, and for every text to donate received, a bucket will be removed symbolising a child’s life saved.
New research commissioned by WaterAid has revealed that the public can make a real difference for less than the average cost of one high street coffee (£2.42), Brussels sprouts for the Christmas dinner table (£6.30) and even festive wrapping paper (£10).
Although the average person will spend £95 on Christmas gifts for each of their loved ones this year, with over a quarter (27%) spending £150 or more, half (55%) of us get into the Christmas spirit and donate to charity during the festive season.
The survey of 2,000 Brits also looked at the value placed on basic resources during the Christmas period, with 70% admitting clean water is the thing they’d struggle to live without most.
A decent toilet (62%) came a close second – more than a television 58%, an oven to cook their turkey in (43%), the internet (31%), a car (20%) and a mobile phone (19%).
Marcus Missen, Director of Fundraising and Communications at WaterAid, said: “Every day, millions of children miss out on school and have no time to play with friends because they have to collect water for their families. Often, the water is so dirty it can kill them. On average a child dies every two minutes due to poor water and sanitation, and diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children under the age of five. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and a small donation could help make all the difference. Adding a gift of just £2 a month to your Christmas lists this year can help transform a child’s life with access to clean water.”
Nadiya Hussain said: “Every parent wants the best for their children, and to see them grow up healthy and able to reach their full potential. It’s devastating to know that one in nine children across the world are being held back because they have no clean water to drink, leading to sickness and lost school days that can have a lasting impact on their lives. Through my trips to Bangladesh, I’ve seen how difficult life without clean water is, and know the difference such a simple thing can make. And it’s so easy for us to help. WaterAid’s Untapped campaign is a great example of how we can help transform lives by getting clean water and decent toilets to children across the world.”
Rachel Stevens added: “Through my work with WaterAid, I’ve seen first-hand the impact having no clean water or toilets has on families, especially children. Having clean water near to home helps keep children healthy and in school, an education improves their future prospects and gives them the chances all children deserve. It costs surprisingly little to make a difference – just £24 can get clean water to one child for life; and with the UK Government’s support for the Untapped campaign, all donations to WaterAid will go even further this winter.”
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “In remote rural regions of Mozambique and Sierra Leone, less than half of the population have access to safe water. By matching donations to WaterAid’s Untapped appeal, UK aid will help ensure that thousands of people in these regions gain access to clean, safe water and the sanitation and good hygiene we so easily take for granted.”