Regional News of Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Over 1.1 billion people across the globe don't have access to clean water, which equates to about an eighth of the global population.
A child dies every 15 seconds from water-related diseases, which has led Compassion International to begin a new 'Water for Life' initiative.
Referring to Jesus' declaration in the Gospel of John that God will provide 'living water', Compassion are providing safe water systems to vulnerable children and their families, giving them a unit that can filter a million gallons of water. Given that a child needs only 14,600 gallons in a lifetime, the system literally offers clean water for life for many people.
A highly effective system used by the US military and based on the same technology used in kidney dialysis machines, the portable filter can be used to obtain safe water from all existing fresh water sources including rivers, ponds, puddles and rain water.
This makes it one of the most sustainable water filters available, and will be instrumental in the transformation of statistics that reveal 1.6 million deaths are attributed to dirty water and poor sanitation every year.
So far, the kits have been sent to over 100,000 children and their families in Africa, Asia and Latin America, along with education on improving hygiene and sanitation.
Compassion is encouraging those who receive a safe water unit to share it within their communities, living out the Biblical principal to 'love your neighbours as yourself'. They hope that it will speak of the abundance and generosity of God, and will signify the life that he offers.
The cost of one safe water system is just £50 and they are already being used to save lives, like that of Eugenia, an 11-year-old Ghanaian. "Before, I was urinating blood because I used to drink water direct from the river," she says.
"Compassion took me to the hospital and I was treated and they gave us a water system. We put our water into it and it becomes good water so I am not urinating blood again."
Ghana is one of the countries in which Compassion UK is currently focusing its efforts. The charity works alongside child development centres in Akuapin, Ajumako and the Cape Coast where they are able to provide children with water sachets, but have found that the children were still being exposed to dirty water at home.
Through providing water filters, thousands of children like Eugenia are now no longer at risk of potentially fatal water-related diseases.
Ransford Essuman, the father of a Compassion child, used to buy water for his family, which was incredibly expensive and meant they often had to go without other basic needs. "I was the first person to start using my filter because I know what I have to go through to get clean water for my family. There was no time for me to waste at all," he said.
"Now that money I used to spend on buying sachet water can be used for something else."
In the run up to World Water Day on 22 March, Compassion UK is asking for more financial and prayerful support for this initiative which is transforming communities across the globe.