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Providing safe water for kids in Sri Lanka

Five-year-old Murugan (pictured above) watches as the water trickles out of a gurgling filter. As his cup fills with clear, clean water, the smile on his little face grows larger. Where Murugan lives in Sri Lanka’s Nuwara Eliya district, waterborne diseases like diarrhoea are a serious problem and often lead to children becoming malnourished.

Children here face many health challenges, including poor water quality and a lack of education about health care among parents. But ChildFund’s Ensuring Nutrition, Health and Children`s Health (ENHANCE) program has helped address the issue of safe drinking water by distributing filters to early childhood development (ECD) centres and conducting awareness programs through our local partner organisations.

Eight ECD centres, including Murugan’s, have received water filters, which remove lead and other impurities from water so it can be safely drunk. The filters also reduce the risk of potential diseases.

“This is one of the best water purification systems introduced to us. I want to thank ChildFund Sri Lanka for helping to provide clean water for children,” says Mrs. Puwaneshwari, a teacher at the Walaha ECD centre.

Together with T-Field, its local partner in Nuwara Eliya, ChildFund has built a dam to collect water from a spring and distribute the clean water through pipelines to the community. The project has benefited 170 families.

The awareness campaigns have emphasised boiling water before drinking it at home and teaching children and adults to wash their hands after using the toilet. ENHANCE takes an integrated approach to helping children establish good health, addressing nutritional needs, child care, family habits, personal and environmental hygiene, safe water and sanitation practices and food security.

“My child used to fall sick often, but after learning about the importance of boiling drinking water, I always boil our drinking water now, and I can see a difference,” says Malarselvi, a mother at the ECD centre. “They don’t fall sick as often as they used to.”

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