Homework looks different now

Boy doing homework at his family’s convenience stand

An investment in a child’s education is an investment in our future. However, millions of families around the world don’t have the upfront resources to invest in two of the most critical resources for getting their kids to school – safe water and a private toilet.

Their kids, mainly girls, will join moms and spend 266 million hours each day finding a safe place to defecate. Boys and girls will spend 6 hours each day finding and collecting water, and likely walk more than 3 miles to do it. All of this time spent is lost opportunity. A lost opportunity to go to school and one day, earn a living.

Reductions in time spent collecting water have been found to increase school attendance. We believe in the power of water and its ability to transform lives. Through persistent determination we are challenging the way institutions think about lending to the world's poor, because we believe in the potential of all people. The following photos prove our belief is winning.

Each day more families in the communities we serve are getting access to the finances needed through WaterCredit loans to fund solutions like water taps and toilets in their home. Now with safe water, privacy, and health on their side, kids are doing math, science, and reading for homework instead of walking to collect water.

Boy doing homework in Peru

Peru - Paulo works diligently to complete his homework for the day, as a soccer field awaits him for play. Paulo lives here with his parents and grandparents. The adobe and concrete home is cozy, warm, and expanding to meet the needs of a growing family. Sabino, Paulo’s grandfather, is constructing a second floor so Paulo and his siblings have more space. On both the first and second story, a bathroom will accommodate the large family. This was not always the case, as previously the family only had a pit latrine to relieve themselves. Finding the hole in the ground to be unsafe and unsanitary, Paulo’s grandparents welcomed the opportunity to take a loan through Water.org’s microfinance partner in Lima to build private toilets for their family.

Girl doing homework in Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Our work and evaluations around the world demonstrate the continued need for a keen focus on water and sanitation access for young girls. Compounded by the fact that their safety and health are at risk when defecating in the open, menstruation poses the main reason for why teen girls in impoverished, water-insecure communities do not go to school. Water.org’s programs in Ethiopia offer households the financial solutions needed to construct water taps and toilets at home. Discomfort and fears aside, a private toilet at home means this young Ethiopian girl can confidently focus on schoolwork to be turned in the next morning.

Boy & woman in Indonesia

Indonesia – Nureni’s son, Rhian, pauses from work on his scooter to pose for this photo. Rhian is in his last year of school where he is studying to be a motorcycle mechanic. He applies the skills he’s learning for his own transportation repair needs when at home in the evenings. He hopes to get an internship at a nearby motorcycle manufacturing plant upon graduation. A WaterCredit loan afforded Nurerni the ability to do what was otherwise unfathomable – to build a water tap in her house, and give her son the opportunity to go to school. Access to the water in their kitchen affords Nureni the ability to cook coconut pudding and other breakfast foods to sell each morning. This in turn, pays for Rhian’s tuition. Now the mother and son are free to spend time focused on helping Rhian achieve his dream, rather than walking to collect water.

Children reading in India

India – For women and children, access to safe water and a toilet means up to six more hours each day to spend working or in school. And, access to those simple, yet life-changing resources means time after school can be spent reviewing the day’s discoveries and preparing for the next lesson. Malala Yousafzai said, “In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It's their normal life. But in other parts of the world, we are starving for education... it's like a precious gift. It's like a diamond.” Through Water.org’s WaterCredit program mothers and fathers in India are being empowered to give their children the gift of water, and what Malala calls a “precious gift” – the gift of an education. Afforded both, girls in the communities we serve can attend school with bright futures in view.

Boy doing homework in Ethiopia

Ethiopia – While his father harvests the teff, a young boy sits in the corner of his home quietly thinking through each equation assigned for homework. Like most kids, he may not view homework as a hopeful conduit to a bright future, but his mom and dad certainly do. Having lived through a long history of Ethiopia’s droughts and floods, water significantly impacts households where now, Water.org’s work has expanded to meet the needs of all poor. Because Water.org does not view the poor as a homogeneous group, but a diverse group of people with varying economic potential, parents who farm and earn income have the opportunity to define their own future. It is with pride they can take a WaterCredit loan to fund the construction of a water tap or toilet in their home.

Water.org provides innovative, market-based solutions that change lives every day through safe water and sanitation.

Get the Water.org Newsletter