WaterAid is inviting churches across the UK to join its Christmas Appeal, Access Denied, encouraging congregations to hold collections and raise awareness of the urgent need to improve access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene for the world’s poorest communities.
Every day, millions of people are denied access to these basic amenities, simply because of who they are, how much money they have, or where they live. Without these basics, whole communities are held back while others thrive.
This year, the international development charity’s campaign focuses on Madagascar, where nearly half the population live without clean water and a staggering nine in ten people do not have a decent toilet.
With the support of churches across the UK, WaterAid will work to bring these vital facilities to 12,000 people across this island nation, helping transform lives.
The campaign will support people like Juliette who, at 56, has lived in the village of Ambohimanatrika her whole life, and has never had access to clean water.
Instead Juliette, doting grandmother of 11 grandchildren, works as a porter, often carrying up to 70 kgs a day. When she needs water, she needs to collect it from the bottom of a hill, from a pool of dirty groundwater.
“We wish that one day we would have clean water, because we are greatly suffering during the rainy season when we go to collect water. The road is slippery and as an old person I sometimes fall on the way to get to water.
“My wish for my grandchildren is that they won’t inherit our current life, that they will be successful, that they won’t be porters, that they will have another life.
Having to collect water each day leaves little time for education, and not having toilets at school makes children too ill or too ashamed to attend. And men and women struggle to run businesses without clean water, or when their families are sick.
By supporting WaterAid this Christmas, churches can help people like Juliette, her children and grandchildren to access clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene for the first time.
“Christmas gives me happiness because it’s a special day when we remember the birth of Jesus”, adds Juliette. “My favourite moment of Christmas day is when we go to church and afterwards all my children and grandchildren are gathered in the house to be with me.”
Marcus Missen, Director of Fundraising and Communications at WaterAid said:
“It’s hard to imagine not being able to turn on the tap for a glass of clean water or to have no decent toilet. But this is the reality for millions of people across the world who are denied access to these basic amenities simply because of who they are, how much money they have, or where they live. This crisis causes diseases that claim the lives of 800 children every single day.
“Clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene can change everything for a community. We invite churches to join our Access Denied campaign to fight this injustice so together we can help transform lives.”
WaterAid aims to raise £2 million this winter, which will help protect the health of thousands of people and show governments that quality healthcare and clean water, toilets and hygiene go hand in hand, transforming many more lives.
To support the appeal, WaterAid has produced a range of resources for churches, including a poster, Sunday School resource and fundraising ideas. To access these resources and to find out more, visit: www.wateraid.org/uk/christmas.