Ethiopian community enjoys much-improved health after water filters arrive

April 18, 2019 • Ethiopia
Ethiopian school principal Kifle Gami appreciates the Samaritan Filter that was provided by kind donations from Canadians
Ethiopian school principal Kifle Gami appreciates the Samaritan Filter that was provided by kind donations from Canadians

Canadian donations fund Samaritan Filter for impoverished school, BioSand filters for households

There is a school in rural Ethiopia where students were so often sick with stomach cramps and diarrhea caused by drinking dirty water that they stayed home an average of one day out of every five.

The students were falling so far behind in their studies, says principal Kifle Gami, that many were dropping out.

With no education, what hope did these children have of escaping the poverty that plagues much of Ethiopia and other African countries?

But things changed dramatically in the fall of 2018. Samaritan’s Purse Canada donors, through our Christian partner organization in Ethiopia, built a $10,000 Samaritan Filter that is now providing safe drinking water every day to the school’s 750 students plus 20 teachers and administrative staff.

Improved attendance

Ethiopian students in Kifle Gami's school faced an uncertain future before their water filter arrived

Ethiopian students in Kifle Gami’s school faced an uncertain future before their water filter arrived

The filter is taking contaminated water from the community’s two local sources—a government pipeline and a nearby lake—and transforming it into safely drinkable water in minutes.

“Attendance is almost always 100 per cent now,” Kifle says, with a delighted smile. “We appreciate the Canadian funders of this filter because children are so sensitive to water-borne diseases. We want God to bless the funders. We will always be grateful.”

Providing safe water at the school wouldn’t have had as much impact if students and staff went home and drank contaminated water. So we also installed BioSand Filters, or smaller-scale versions of the Samaritan Filters, in 600 area households.

Our investment in the community also included:

  • building 1,000 household latrines
  • constructing hand-washing stations at the school
  • providing hygiene and sanitation training to students and their families.

All of this effort in Jesus’ name is designed to prevent another tragedy like the one in the community a few years ago. That’s when a mother and daughter became so sick from unfiltered water that they died.

“Free from water-borne diseases”

“You have made us free from water-borne diseases,” said DeSales Zerga. He is one of several local government leaders who came to the school to offer thanks after learning Samaritan’s Purse staff were back for a follow-up visit.

“We used to be reluctant to give water to our farm animals, let alone our own families, but now we are very happy to have this safe water from the filters.”

The school’s Samaritan Filter is the second that we have built in Ethiopia, and one of almost 350 we have built worldwide. Through BioSand Filters for households and Samaritan Filters for schools and small communities, we have provided safe water to almost 1.7 million people so far.

Each installation is a God-given opportunity for us to tell people about the living water of Jesus Christ. “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38, ESV).

Our filters are definitely saving many lives. But someone on the planet is still dying every 37.5 seconds from poor water and hygiene. Therefore, the need for more filters is still painfully urgent. Please invest, through your donations and prayers, in saving lives through Samaritan’s Purse Water Projects.

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