Zenebech's story

When speaking with Zenebech about her family’s water tap - why they have one and how they got it - with focused eyes and earnest gratitude she shared, “I’m using this water now, but I know the pain before.” 


Knowing the pain before is why we do what we do. It’s why Water.org works tirelessly in pursuit of our vision of safe water and sanitation for all. Now that her family is experiencing all that comes with access to safe water at home, she wants others in her village to experience it too. Zenebech told us, “I told others in my village to take a loan for water if they could. I didn't want them to suffer any longer. I want them to be healthy like my kids.”

Zenebech lives in a rural village a few hours south of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Among the other mud and thatch homes, Zenebech raises her six children with her husband. Abundant with herbs and produce her garden welcomes all who enter her property. Her colorful home and garden reflect the health and hope of her family thanks to the little pipe and faucet head that sit just feet from their front door. 

Zenebech and family

Before she received the small loan that funded this water connection, Zenebech and her children used to walk to a distant stream to collect water. It took hours away from the safety of her home and the water jugs were heavy. Zenebech did not want her kids to be responsible for such a task, but her family had no choice. The water they collected often hurt their stomachs and made them ill. Zenebech and her husband wanted to end the pain and sickness. 

I told others in my village to take a loan for water if they could. I didn't want them to suffer any longer.

Water.org partnered with carefully selected financial institutions like Vision Fund in Ethiopia, so that Zenebech and her family have water today. With small, monthly payments from a portion of her husband’s income she paid off her water connection in less than two years - and the water solution she and her husband gave their family will last for years to come.

The pain and sickness Zenebech and her kids once knew is shared by 2.2 billion people in the world today. It’s waking before dawn and leaving the safety of home to collect water in jugs that become heavy and difficult to carry. It’s repeating this time-consuming, laborious task multiple times a day. It’s serving your children water that could make them sick. It’s not having enough water to wash hands and prevent the spread of disease. It’s wishing this wasn’t your every day. 

Water.org no longer has active programs in Ethiopia. Learn more about where we currently work.