Poverty & a starving child

Water, Sanitation,& Hygiene (WASH) Ministry

  • Poverty
  • Health
  • Children
  • Education
  • Hunger Relief

Poverty Begins With a Lack of Clean Water

One of the greatest causes of poverty is the lack of access to clean drinking water. Access to clean water is the foundation of all development. Without access to clean water, you can't grow food, you can't build housing, you can't stay healthy, you don't go to school and you can't keep working. Without clean water, poverty is inevitable.

Lack of Clean Water Results in Sickness and Poverty

The lack of safe water and proper sanitation in the developing world is felt most by rural dwellers and the urban poor. With few medical resources at their disposal, the poor are particularly vulnerable to chronic illnesses that hinder their productivity, making the escape from poverty even more difficult. Poor health leads to poor productivity. Those who become sick because of the bacteria found in dirty water, become too weak to exert themselves. To begin to understand this hardship, think back to the last time you had some form of food poisoning. It’s like that but, much worse for there is no money to afford any medical treatment for most. For those students who suffer from water borne illness usually cannot attend school. This results in a missed opportunity to get an education. Failure to get an education perpetuate the oppressive cycle of poverty.

Lost Productivity & Development

With unclean water sources often miles from villages, many of the able bodied members of a village are forced to spend hours each day simply walking to and from the water source. For most, the trip is done twice a day. With much of one's day already consumed by meeting basic needs, the hours spent on obtaining water, results in lost productivity. This lost time is often the difference between time to do a trade and earn a living and not. The social and economic effects’ resulting from lack of clean water is always the number one concern of any village when discussing their own development.

Health Begins With Access to Clean Water


In 2007, 33 million people in the world were living with HIV, 2.7 million people were newly infected, and 2 million had died due to HIV / AIDS.Little or no access to safe, clean water in a community often positively correlates with a high prevalence of HIV / AIDS. Caring for individuals with HIV / AIDS requires access to safe water so patients that have compromised immune systems are more prone to common illnesses and diseases, especially diarrhea, which is often caused by unsafe water. HIV/AIDS patients are susceptible to skin and eye infections that need to be routinely washed with clean water and many HIV/AIDS patients contract fungal infection of the mouth or throat that can cause burning or dry sensations. Safe drinking water greatly alleviates these symptoms.

The fight against HIV/AIDS at the community level must include clean water initiatives in order to prolong lives, improve health, and render medications more effective. As Freedom From Chains continues to respond to the need for clean water, adequate sanitation, and proper hygiene, life expectancy among HIV/AIDS patients in communities where it works increases and the hope of a better future is rekindled.

Infant Mortality

Babies need clean, healthy water. Living in the developed world with sophisticated water treatment, most every mother boils her tap water before feeding her child in order to make doubly sure it is safe. Imagine a village where there is no clean water to begin with. Boiling cannot eliminate all disease. Did you know that in villages where access to clean water is provided the infant mortality rate can drop by 50%!

When access to clean water is available, fecal and oral transmission of diarrhea-causing pathogens can be prevented. Freedom From Chains strives to increase access to clean water in order to slow the proliferation of deaths caused by diarrheal diseases. Freedom From Chains also strives to provide much needed relief and dignity to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Dirty Water & Its Impact on Children

In the United States, we expect that our children will grow up healthy. A major reason why we can fully expect this is because we do not have to worry about the quality of our water. However, there are hundreds of millions of people who live in regions where water is difficult to get to; and where having access to clean water is a dream. The villages and communities that do not have a source of reliable clean water face serious threats to their children’s health.

Children, Water, & Disease

The World Health Organization estimates that  6,000 children die each day from water-related illnesses. They die from cholera, dysentery, typhoid, guinea worm, and hepatitis. Any one of these diseases can devastate a community’s young population. One of the most common symptoms of disease is diarrhea. Many children in the developing world live with constant diarrhea caused by water-related illnesses. The young ones are plagued by dehydration, fatigue, and weakened immune systems. It is almost impossible for children with diarrhea or their parents to keep the watery feces from contaminating other people. Disease spreads rapidly.

Heavy Labor

In communities without easy access to clean water, it is oftentimes the children who are forced to walk the long distance to the source of dirty water and to haul it back to their homes. Very often, the distance of these dirty water sources can easily be located miles away. Now imagine the physical hardship that these children must endure daily to bring water home. Water weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon, so a child providing a family of four with a sub-Saharan average of 16 gallons per day must carry daily 128 pounds of water. Children must transport this heavy burden from water sources that are up to several miles away. The heavy labor of carrying water such a distance often causes neck and back problems that afflict children their entire lives. Sending children long distances to retrieve water also puts them in danger of accidents and sexual assault.

Lack of Education

Children in communities lacking accessible clean water often miss school. The demands of retrieving water for their families leave little time or energy for studies. In addition, children are often too sick from water-related diseases to go to school, or embarrassing diarrhea keeps them home. In some cases, schools must be suspended or closed to stop the spread of disease. Through Freedom From Chains WASH ministry, thousands of children will gain access to safe water and the tools to use it and keep it safe for years to come.

Lack of Water Destroys the Opportunity for an Education

Every day, children carry are forced to travel many miles to bring water to their home or school. Doing so means lost time and this in turn leaves little time for education which is critical to changing the long term prospects of developing nations. Because so many adults are sick from unclean water, children are often left to manage homes, provide food and look after the sick. With the many additional burdens that a lack of clean water brings, education simply becomes less of a priority. This sets up an unfortunate cycle of poverty as without a proper education, there is little chance of improving one's situation later in life.

Water & Schools

Schools cannot run programs if they cannot provide water to students, faculty and their families. Many people cannot imagine a school without drinking fountains, flush toilets, or sinks. Unfortunately, lack of water and sanitation is common in most classrooms throughout South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Children’s education suffers greatly from a lack of safe water and sanitation on school premises.

Water Collection

Too often students use valuable class time to fetch water long distances from school. Sometimes the paths or roads are dangerous for children, and they have to carry jugs that are far too heavy for their small frames, affecting the development of their spines. Frequently, these school children are collecting unsafe water from contaminated sources.

Disease & Death

Approximately 443 million school days each year are missed due to water-related illnesses. Unsafe water leads to severe outbreaks of diarrheal diseases, which include some of the deadliest diseases for children in the developing world. Improper waste disposal and lack of water for proper hand washing perpetuates diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis. These outbreaks force school closures, making education impossible in some rural areas.

Effect on Female Students

Many girls are unable to attend school because their main responsibility for the family, collecting water, requires hours of walking each day. In many cases, young women who are able to attend primary school dropout when they reach puberty because the school lacks private latrines. Improved latrines, hand-in-hand with adequate access to safe water on and off school premises, can significantly improve attendance at schools, especially for girls.

People all over the world cite lack of education as one of the main obstacles to reducing poverty. Freedom From Chains understands that in order to improve education, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) needs must be addressed. By reducing the incidence of disease and providing for students’ WASH needs, schools once again become assets to the community and catalysts for a better future.

1 United Nations Development Program (UNDP): Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis, Human Development Report (2006).

Hunger Relief Begins With Water

Relieving hunger has to begin by providing access to clean water. It may sound obvious, but we tend to forget that without water, food is impossible to grow and difficult to preserve and prepare. Most people do nto realize teh amount of water that is required to grow and process the food and drinks we consume to survive. Consider the following foods we take for granted:

Food Amount of Water Needed to Produce Food
1 Glass of milk 200 liters
Cup of Coffee 140 liters
Bag of Chips 185 liters
Slice of Bread 40 liters
Egg 135 liters
Apple 70 liters
Hamburger 2,400 liters

Water is fundamental to relieving hunger in the developing world. Often times, areas that experience a lack of water suffer because of poor water management. That is usually an economic issue that can be addressed. We are working on projects that not only provide clean drinking water but also make crop production possible.

Help Us Liftg an Entire Village Out of Poverty

The average cost of each well is $1,500 USD. Each well can provide clean drinkable water for an average of 500 people or more. This means that a person can receive a lifetime supply of clean water for as little as $3 USD per person.

  • $30 USD will help provide clean water for 10 people
  • $75 USD will help provide uncontaminated water for 25 people
  • $300 USD will help provide fresh water for 100 people
  • $750 USD can be combined with 4 other friends to help drill a complete well
  • $1,500 USD will enable us to drill and install a complete well

If you are interested in relieving hunger in the developing world, please consider supporting our efforts. We have projects ready for construction that simply requires your dollars of support to begin. Start by clicking on the button below and note and note 'WASH or water well' ministry in comment box. Thank you for your support.

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Freedom From Chains
Attn: WASH Ministry
2338 Glendale Ter., Suite B
Alexandria, VA 22303

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