At Christmas, we all have decisions to make whether it’s which presents to buy or who to invite for lunch - but imagine having to make the impossible choice of giving your children dirty water to drink or none at all. This Christmas, churches in Norfolk are being asked to make a difference so that mothers are not forced to make this impossible decision.
Julian Bryant, Christian Aid’s Church Engagement Officer for Norfolk says:
“In South Sudan, flooding and droughts have become more frequent and severe because of the climate crisis, leaving people hungry, homeless, and without a means to earn a living. Exacerbated by years of conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a growing humanitarian and hunger crisis, which is also forcing people to make impossible decisions. Please consider praying and giving to make a difference to mothers and fathers who have to make such difficult decisions for their children. We have resources available for you to use in your church this Christmas too.”
Adut Mariu, a 27-year-old, married mother of three young children, lives in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. She said: “We were in desperate need…to look after my children, they had to drink the dirty river water. The water has many diseases. There is cows’ dung, there is donkeys’ dung… People also wash in there.”
The River Makadh runs through Adut’s village of Biet and was the community’s only source of water. It is dirty and unreliable. It dries up during long periods of drought and floods during heavy rainfall, rising to dangerous levels and spreading contaminated water.
Adut said: “Then when the flood came, it came at full force. This village was under water. No one could move. The flood destroyed everything. Because of the flood, crops were destroyed, cows and goats were dying because they had nowhere to graze. You would see chickens standing in the water and later see them dying. These flood waters cannot be stopped.”
Thanks to Christian Aid’s local partner, Support for Peace and Education Development Program (SPEDP), Adut’s community were able to build a borehole to extract clean water from a naturally occurring source.
“Now we get water from the hand pump. We don’t send our children to the river. “The water from the hand pump is very good. It’s disease free. We drink it with peace of mind.”
The pump is helping the village’s 700 families to gain access to clean drinking water. Waterborne diseases have fallen, and Adut has more time for other activities like farming. She’s also the caretaker of the borehole and keeps it in good working order.
To support Christian Aid’s work in South Sudan and other countries suffering from the effects of climate change, you can download church resources and give to the Christmas Appeal.
With clean water, nutritious food and ways to earn money, mothers on the frontline of the climate crisis like Adut won’t have to make such impossible choices.