Christian Aid Ireland’s Christmas appeal this year is for South Sudan, with a focus on supporting mothers as they seek to provide for their families while coping with the impact of the climate crisis.
The charity highlights the case of 27-year-old Adut Mariu, who for a long time had no choice but to give her children water that she knew wasn’t safe.
“We were in desperate need,” Adut said. “To look after my children, they had to drink the dirty river water.”
People were frequently ill from drinking the water but the river closest to the village of Biet in the north-west of South Sudan was the community’s only water source.
To make matters worse, Adut is also on the frontline of the climate crisis. South Sudan suffers with drought and flooding and many areas have been badly hit for three years in a row. Locust swarms have also devastated crops.
The river near Adut’s village dries up during periods of drought, forcing people to walk long distances in search of water. And it floods during the rainy season, polluting fragile water sources, killing crops and destroying homes.
But with support from Christian Aid, a new borehole was sunk in Adut’s village, bringing clean water for her children to drink, whatever the weather.
“The water from the hand pump is very good. It’s free from disease. We drink it with peace of mind,” she said.
It means no more upset tummies from drinking dirty water.
Thanks to this borehole, Adut’s family was safe the last time the river flooded. “In the autumn it flooded but we were not going to the river. We drank the clean water,” Adut said proudly.
The borehole is life-changing, but clean water is in short supply across the region and the borehole is being used by three times more people than it should be.
Gifts to Christian Aid this Christmas could help to build more boreholes, provide seeds and farming tools, and give mums the chance to set up small businesses to earn a cash income. With clean water, nutritious food and ways to earn money, mums like Adut won’t face such impossible choices.
Life for Adut has been tough, but so is she. She’s lived through displacement, conflict, loss and now the climate crisis. But she is still full of hope for her children’s futures.
To find out more and to donate, please visit caid.ie/Christmas or you can make a telephone donation by calling 028 9064 8133.