Written by Felicia Carty; edited by Sarah Bartley
Sponsored child Soso,11, and his grandmother, Dariko, live in a home surrounded by acres of lush, green farmland. But this wasn’t always their landscape. Until recently, Soso’s community collected water from a river up that was 30 kilometres away in the mountains. Water was routed to Soso’s town through wooden funnels which constantly needed repair. Heavy rains often destroyed the wood and rocks would block water from flowing. The little water that did pass through the channel wasn’t enough for everyone.
Together, the community would commit to repairing the water channel each spring and different residents would act as on-call repairmen when needed the rest of the year. The steep terrain made accessing the water source difficult and repairs had to be made often in hard-to-reach places. People even took some pipes from their houses to try to fix the system, but it wasn’t enough. “There was a risk of falling down the steep slopes.” Dariko says.
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The system also made use of natural channels in places. In summer time, when the heat came, the water evaporated. Farming families are dependent on the weather, so if it was a very hot period and the rain did not come, they could lose the entire crop yield.
When World Vision began working in the community, staff member Elena held meetings with community members to hear from them what was important to them and the dreams they had for their future. Fixing the water system was high on their list. Since World Vision is a leading provider of clean water around the world and implementing irrigation systems is one of our specialties, we got right to work.
Dariko (left) and Soso walk among their green fields. Photo: World Vision
These improvements not only ignited a partnership with the community, but also resulted in ten times the amount of water reaching Soso’s family. Now, their crops are thriving and they even produce surplus that they sell at the market.
As a sponsored child, Soso has a great relationship with his sponsor in Canada and they exchange letters regularly. Dariko hopes that one day his sponsor will visit and get to see the new water system.
This partnership encouraged more changes in the community, like boosting childhood education programs in schools, which World Vision worked to implement in a kindergarten program.
With this extra support, Soso’s community has come a long way towards self-sufficiency and will continue to grow and flourish.