There is no love like that of a mother. It is a love that knows no limits and is sacrificial in nature. A mother carries the burdens of those she loves, always serving them and ensuring they are protected.

Just take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices that you’ve seen your mother, or mothers you know, make in the lives of their family.

Maybe she helped with last-minute school projects.

Maybe she experienced sleepless nights to care for a child with a fever.

Maybe she sacrificed her hobbies, interests, and alone time to prioritize her family; without ever complaining.

Now imagine if that same woman, facing these challenges daily, was also faced with the burden of knowing that the water she walked miles to fetch for your family could make you sick, even to the point of death.

The very thing you need daily, gathered by the person who provided your life, now threatens to rob you of your existence, and she would be responsible for your illness. Imagine the guilt and agony she would have to carry and the burden that would rest on her heart forever.

It’s not a pleasing thought, but that was the case for Luncho Gemeda a young mother of 3 from Kokosa, Ethiopia.

Luncho was forced to walk over two hours each day to the nearest water source to fetch water for her family. Though the journey was unsafe, she knew that she had no other choice than to brave the walk. The dry season took a greater toll on her, and Luncho often found herself returning to her home well after the setting of the sun.

I had to waste more time waiting in long lines which sometimes lasted up to nighttime. It was quite scary to walk alone, and wild animals might attack me. And when I get back home, I get my children hungry and crying.” – Luncho Gemeda

But, with the help supplied by Water for Good donors, Luncho is proud to say that she and her children are “no more in danger of survival.” The gift of accessible safe water, improved sanitation, and hygiene practices serves, as Luncho describes it, “a golden opportunity” to improve their living, raise their children, and ensure that she and her husband can send them to school without any challenges. It is something Luncho considers a miracle and is grateful for.

Unfortunately, Luncho’s story is not unique to one village. UNICEF1 estimates that, worldwide, women spend an estimated 200 million hours daily retrieving water for their families. Outside of the actual weight they carry (one 5-gallon jug of water weighs approximately 40 pounds), they are faced with taking the treacherous journey multiple times a week. Many times, these women are forced to carry multiple jugs at once, sometimes with an infant attached to their back. Uphill, downhill, in the rain and mud, or in the blazing sun- all to provide a resource that may, or may not, bring illness to their village.

Water for Good works to ensure that families have access to a safe water supply in their village. This allows for the convenience of walking shorter distances to obtain a trusted source of water; one that aids in stopping the spread of disease and death to young children. The reduction in time spent collecting water also gives women the opportunity to focus on something other than the hours spent trekking for water.

Such was the case of Abebu Simeon in Bensa, Ethiopia who, after receiving access to a safe water supply, was able to focus more attention on the crops her family sells for income. Abebu lives on a farm with her four young children, where the family grows false banana (a popular crop in Ethiopia that is consumed in the country and aids in irrigation of land), and Ethiopia’s largest export, coffee. Her two youngest children attend school in the area while the youngest stay at home and help with the crops. Before Water for Good’s intervention, Abebu was too consumed by the task of obtaining water to ensure that her children were taken care of in the manner she wished.

“I want to educate my children properly and supply every educational material to become clever students and wish to and become Teacher and Nurse in the future.”

Today, Abebu’s children are not suffering from the pain and discomfort of preventable waterborne diseases that lead to the death of a child under 5 every two minutes. She no longer needs to spend the money she receives from her crops on doctor’s bills and now she and her family are enjoying a better life, saving money, and enhancing their farm to produce more crops.

“We mothers became free from carrying big containers from the river on our shoulders. We can get safe water over a short distance in our village. I no longer have any suspicions that my children will be sick because of unsafe water. Now we can get clean water close to our home and are taught how to keep our personal and environmental sanitation. Thanks to our Donors, now our children went to school on time and attend their class properly without spending their time to fetch water from far distance.”

The impact of a mother reaches generations yet to come, and your partnership is felt in the villages we serve in Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda. By lightening the burden of these women, we work to ensure that children survive, obtain educations, and contribute to society. All through a mother’s love, funded by your donations.

This Mother’s Day, we honor all Mothers around the world but hold a special place in our hearts for Mothers like Luncho and Abebu who face the daily struggles of not having safe water. To us they are mothers, but to their families, they are the world.

Thank you to all the Mothers who love unconditionally, live unselfishly, and are truly unmatchable.

Give a gift in honor of your Mother