You’ve just tucked your four-year-old in bed when you hear it. Those familiar words: “I’m thirsty.” Maybe you roll your eyes because it’s the tenth night in a row you’ve heard that request. Maybe you make your way to the bedroom with a fresh sippy cup of water only to discover there’s another full one on the dresser. Most of us take clean water for granted. We head to the kitchen or bathroom, turn on the faucet, and almost like magic, clean water arrives in our hands. We can quench our thirst, or our children’s, whenever and wherever we please.
A couple of weeks ago, I visited one of our DFN schools in a large city in central India. The school building is primitive, but the teachers are committed and the students are bright and eager. It’s one of my favorite places to visit, but it’s also a stark reminder that our students’ families struggle to provide even the basics that every child needs to be healthy and ready to learn.
This school is located in a slum. There are a few concrete block houses, but most dwellings are makeshift huts, built with whatever materials are at hand. Tarps for roofs, sticks for walls, and dirt for floors. Parents earn a few rupees by picking trash for salvageable items they can sell, or by begging. It’s a hard place to try to raise a child. It’s an impossible place to find clean water. A thirsty child asking for a drink of water at bedtime sends daggers through the hearts of parents unable to provide that most basic of needs.
Unless we stand up and do something about it. And we can. Getting clean water to thirsty children is absolutely something we can do. It’s a problem we can fix.
Unicef says in a recent article, “A safe water supply is the backbone of a healthy economy, yet is woefully under prioritized, globally. It is estimated that waterborne diseases have an economic burden of approximately USD 600 million a year in India.” That’s a hefty sum!
DFN wants to make sure each of our 23,000+ students has access to clean water, both in school and at home. We’ve got a goal of installing water purifiers in each one of our schools – and we are well on the way to achieving that goal, thanks to people like you. When you provide water at school for the school day, you’re doing even more than that. You are providing water that can be carried home for the whole family.
Not many fixes are easy, but this one comes close. It takes just $60 to quench the thirst of a child. You will ease a parent’s worry and lessen school absences because of waterborne illness. Each day a child is in school increases his or her chances of graduating, of creating a better life for themselves and their families.
This spring, would you please consider a gift of at least $60 so a child doesn’t go to bed thirsty? Or choose any of the items from our gift catalog. There’s a family in a slum in India who is counting on you to make their lives just a little bit easier.
And the next time you have an opportunity to tuck a child in bed and you hear those words, “I’m thirsty,” stop. Breathe a prayer of gratitude that you can quench their thirst. And breathe a prayer for those who can’t… yet.