WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation created a giant tennis ball mosaic of a young boy enjoying clean water, to highlight how more than 11,000 children’s lives could be saved during The Championships if everyone, everywhere had access to clean water and toilets.
It took artists from Sand in Your Eye 12 hours to create the tennis court-sized portrait near No.1 Court, showing ten-year-old Tefy from Antsakambahiny village in Madagascar who, with the help of WaterAid and partners including the Wimbledon Foundation, now has clean water at school and near his home.
Across the world, a staggering 771 million people – one in ten – live without clean water close to home and 1.7 billion people – one in five – do not have a decent toilet. Furthermore, over half of healthcare facilities in the least developed countries have no clean water on site.
Without access to these basic facilities, the lives of and children are needlessly put at risk, with around 800 children under five dying every day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. Many more are frequently ill or forced to spend hours out of school collecting water, compromising their education.
Tefy’s life has been transformed with clean water. He said:
“We no longer fetch water down the hill anymore since we have taps in our school. The water here is very clean and fresh. We can open the taps and drink water whenever we want. We can wash our hands at any time and even bathe here if we want.
“Every afternoon, after doing my homework, I always come near the school to play with my friends. We play football or hide and seek. I love being at school studying and being with my friends.”
Former British No.1 tennis player Heather Watson is backing WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation as they champion clean water for all.
Heather Watson said:
“We are all united by our need for clean water; it is vital for good health, yet one in ten people around the world live without this essential resource close to home. Something as simple as turning on a tap and pouring a glass of water is not an option for millions of children globally. Many have no choice but to drink dirty water that can make them sick, or spend time walking to collect water instead of going to school, holding them back from reaching their full potential.
“The giant tennis ball mosaic is a poignant reminder of how more than 11,000 children’s lives could be saved during The Championships if everyone everywhere had clean water and toilets.
“Together, we can help solve the water crisis. That’s why I’m supporting the work of WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation, to create a global community where everyone has the clean water they need to survive and thrive.”
Paige Murphy, Head of the Wimbledon Foundation, said:
“Children should have the chance to play, learn and look forward to their futures, no matter where they are born. But millions are being held back due to a lack of clean water and decent toilets – things that so many of us take for granted. It is humbling to think 11,000 children’s lives could be saved during The Championships if they had access to these essentials.
“That is why the Wimbledon Foundation and WaterAid are uniting to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a normal part of daily life for communities across the world. These vital services help relieve the burden on people’s time and energy and create new opportunities for education, paid work and raising a healthy family.”
The Wimbledon Foundation has been working in partnership with WaterAid since 2017 to help make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a normal part of daily life in healthcare centres and communities across Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi and Myanmar. A donation of £1.2 million over three years will transform people’s health, keep children in school, and allow women and girls to unlock their potential.
The tennis balls for the mosaic were gifted by Slazenger, Official Ball of The Championships, and will be donated on to charities supported by the Wimbledon Foundation such as Rackets Cubed, a charity which delivers integrated racket sports, education and nutrition programmes to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged young children.