Ghana (MNN) – Ten percent of the world’s population today does not have access to clean water, according to the Joint Monitoring Program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. The implications of dirty water are deadly. WHO also reports that every minute, a newborn dies because of a lack of clean water and environment. While the numbers are startling, you yourself can make a life or death difference in a community today.
Karyn Stehman of Compassion International shares the story of a girl named Anita and her rural community in Ghana where a team from Compassion recently visited.
“Anita was just a joy to meet. Her face was just shining. She was a beautiful young lady. And when we entered her community … the entire village met us at the end of the road and they had all these instruments and they were singing and dancing and they were trying to get us sing and dance with them, and they wanted to lead us into their village with this musical celebration parade.”
Why were they celebrating? Because they finally had clean water—something they had desperately needed for a long time. Anita led the team to the river where the villagers used to get their water. Stehman says the murky water, which people were using to bathe, looked more like mud. And what was in the water had, for many years, been wreaking havoc on the community.
“Anita explained to us that the people in the community used to always be very sick. The children would miss school. It was kind of a dire situation without clean and safe water for them to drink and use at their home.”
The well was made possible because of a project promoted through Compassion’s gift catalog.
“Through gifts to the catalog, they were able to build a community well, and this well was not only for the children at the Compassion Center or the church, it was for the entire community. And there was so much rejoicing and praising to the Lord the day that that well opened.”
The pastor in the community was overjoyed to tell them about their resourcefulness. After getting the well installed, there was enough gift money left over for a pipe extension, allowing an additional spigot and water tank at the other end of the village. The entire community got together to dig a line to install the pipe.
“It was just fabulous being with them and being able to really see how they give all of the glory to God and [they were] just praising him and celebrating—it was just beautiful,” Stehman says.
Compassion’s Gift Catalog
When people give to projects like this, they want to know their money is going to good use. The catalog allows for people to see what exactly their money is going to, meaning they can select from projects that they are particularly passionate about. And with Compassion, they’re able to witness the impact.
“When people give to the gift catalog, we do report back on how the money was able to be spent. And we show these stories of children like Anita and Noah and other children all over the world– that have been impacted.”
These projects are life-changing and, as we’ve shared before, they have the ability to save lives, too.
“If you give an academic scholarship, you are going to help a child get the school fees paid that they need to go to school. They’re going to be able to have the testing fees paid for.
“If you give baby’s medical care, a baby under the age of one is going to be able to receive the medical care that he or she needs to survive. We have a big focus on survival with pregnant moms and babies under age one where that child mortality rate is so high.”
Stehman explains that a lot of effort goes into helping children live past that first year.
“In a lot of communities, they don’t even name their children until their first birthday because they’re afraid to name the child because that child might not live. And we have a lot of gifts that also impact these babies and moms that are in our churches and in our communities and programs.”
Also, consider promoting these projects through your church or group of friends and family. You can order a free kit that encourages people to think differently about how they spend money this year. For help on planning your own party that encourages gifts that impact spiritually and physically, click here.