Have you ever thought about what it would be like to see Safe Water September’s impact for yourself?
Jessie Skelly visited safe water projects in Zimbabwe during 2019. At the time he was the embody Mission Catalyst in NSW. He had taken the Safe Water September (SWS) challenge and was eager to see the water projects that the SWS challenge supports.
Visiting Zimbabwe, Jessie was confronted by what he saw. The land was dry and lifeless. Drought had ravaged the earth.
Jessie travelled to remote villages with Showers of Blessing Director, Boniface Mpfou. For many years, Showers of Blessing, have given safe water by installing boreholes in rural communities. “I loved hearing Boniface’s wealth of expertise in regard to the water projects," Jessie noted. Boniface is passionate, skilled and knows how to engage with the local community.
Jessie was greeted at the first village by women, with tears flowing down their cheeks. A borehole had recently been installed. The land once again felt the refreshing sensation of water upon its surface. The people, revived, were thankful for its presence.
The borehole had changed their lives. The women who greeted Jessie with tears expressed joy and thankfulness. “What touched me the most was how those women had their basic dignity restored, by being able to simply clean their clothes. This is something that gave them self-worth,” Jessie said.
To hear story after story of lives changed was overwhelming for Jessie. “My main desire in going was to see the impact on the ground of the money raised through Safe Water September,” Jessie said. Observing the transformation that a borehole creates in a village encouraged him.
Many people shared their stories with Jessie. One mother in the village told Jessie that she uses the water to grow vegetables. She sells her vegetables from the community garden to buy schoolbooks for her kids.
Another had been leaving her house at 5am with all her children to collect water and buy vegetables. This meant the children missed school. They would return home hungry around 9pm. With the borehole installed close to home, her children won’t have to miss school.
Others shared how they walked 12km to collect water, which was dirty because local cattle shared the dam. Then there were people risking their lives collecting water from crocodile-infested waters. The borehole has helped to reduce illness from dirty water and given them a safe way to collect water.
According to Boniface, a borehole is the heart of a village. It needs looking after above all else. Hearing this, Jessie remembered a passage from the Bible. “This reflection brought another layer of depth and meaning to Proverbs 4:23; From the heart flow the springs of life.” Like the way water flows from a borehole, giving life!
A borehole brought life to this village. “I was most amazed by the holistic transformation that takes place in these communities,” Jessie explained. The borehole has helped to reduce illness and provide a safe way to collect water for over 1,000 people. "This was a much larger number than I could ever have fathomed," Jessie marvelled.
Thanks to people like you taking the challenge, we have raised over $1.2 million since our first challenge in 2014. This has enabled life-changing water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in Zimbabwe, Vanuatu and Bangladesh.
“It’s amazing to see how in over ten years the work has spread so rapidly. And so many different communities have been impacted and changed,” Jessie shared.
There are still many villages who don’t have access to this life-giving water. Sign up and take the Safe Water September challenge today so that more people can experience this transformation. By giving up your favourite drinks, you can bring life back to communities that don’t have access to safe water.
And, this year, for the first time, you can have the chance to visit our partners for yourself – just like Jessie. If you raise $500 or more, you’ll be invited to apply to visit our partners in Zimbabwe in 2024. You could see the effects of your SWS challenge first-hand.
For Jessie, there’s no doubt of the impact we can have. “I am convinced that Safe Water September and other initiatives will continue to have a long-lasting impact in the lives of local Zimbabweans.”
Experience how safe water can change lives and transform communities. Visit www.safewaterseptember.org.au for more stories and videos.
Showers of Blessing Trust's (OSBT) project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).