A new water system means more playtime!
In the small village of Puno, Timor-Leste, children spent hours walking to a nearby stream to collect clean water.
They had to walk with buckets, on a long and dangerous journey for children travelling alone. Instead of playing or studying, they spend hours collecting water.
“The children spend two hours to get water and carry it back using the wooden cart. They get water twice a day. The distance from our place to the water take 500 metres. It can be very risky but as parents and big sisters we all must look after them. We make sure they are safe and always hold their hand,” said Carolina, one mother in the community.
Carolina is a mother to eight children and teaches at the local kindergarten. Carolina knows how important it is to have easy access to clean water. “Water is very important in our community. We need it for drinking and cooking. And it is hard when we can’t access it easily.”
Easier access to water means that Carolina and her family can cook healthy food, shower, wash their clothes, and give water to their farm animals. “If the kids have school in the morning, then they must get the water in the afternoon so that they can use for showering the next morning before school. If there is no water, then they must go to school without taking a shower.”
With support from ChildFund Timor-Leste, the community installed a new water system that is more reliable and closer to the village. The water system serves 34 homes – approximately 200 people.
“Now the water is accessible any time but now our concern is that we don’t have a tap-stop to divide the water. We only use a hose directly from the pipe and because the water was installed in an old room next to the toilet, sometimes we need to take the hose out from the toilet to the outside to prepare meals for children or to be used for kitchen needs.”
The village Chief of more than 17 years, Filipe, explained that the whole community helped in the construction of the water system. “We had a lot of people helping. I divided them into two groups of about 50 people. They helped with the construction and prepared food for the volunteers.”
The water protection project provides communities with access to clean water for agriculture, schools, and the health post in Puno.
The Disaster READY (DRR) project is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP). The water rehabilitation project was one activity that was part of the Disaster Risk Reduction Community Action Plan. The initiative was led by the community.