Empowering women is critical to solving the water crisis. We empower moms to get safe water and sanitation by helping them access affordable financing. We created WaterCredit to do this. Through WaterCredit, we provide small, affordable loans that enable people to install household water connections and toilets. With access to these resources at home, moms can work to earn income, learn a trade, care for their families and live healthier lives. To date, we have disbursed more than one million loans, and 93% of the borrowers are women, women like Ruth.
Ruth is hopeful and determined. After a childhood spent collecting water, she wanted more for her adult life. She is now an artist, a wife, and an empowered mother who is changing her family’s world. Ruth grew up in the mountainous region of Huancayo, Peru. There her family raised sheep. As a young girl she did not attend school for long as the responsibility to collect water for the family and livestock eventually consumed her days. A young Ruth may have spent days dreaming about the things she wanted to create, the pictures she wanted to draw, the artist in her she wished to explore.
When she wasn’t walking to collect water, Ruth helped her mother with household chores like cooking, cleaning, and sewing. Once an adult, Ruth married and started a family of her own. She and her husband remained close to her childhood home, settling just up the road. It wasn’t long before she became pregnant and the water crisis pained her more than she’d ever known. For no other reason than it was what the family had always known, Ruth was to continue collecting water each day - for her parents and now her own home. As her pregnancy progressed, carrying water increased in difficulty.
Then came a solution. Water.org’s work in Peru meant Ruth could have access to safe water at home. No more walking. No more hauling. We created WaterCredit for people like Ruth, to empower the poor to finance the construction of their own water tap, at home.
Now the mother of two, Ruth proudly uses her time doing more than she’d ever thought possible. With a tap at home, she’s been empowered to tap into her own potential. And at the center of that potential was an artist - an artist who could sew and make a living creating. So while her children play, Ruth designs and stitches custom vehicle covers for taxi companies. She now looks at the future with hopeful optimism determined to give her own children bright days, and a bright future.
This story was made possible by a generous grant from the Caterpillar Foundation.