“The best form of charity is giving water (to drink).”
(Prophet ﷺ, narrated by Ibn Majah)
The lack of clean water is silently killing one child every single minute. The statistics are truly shocking: nearly 800 million people have no access to clean water, while a woman in Africa walks an average of 6km a day to fetch clean water.
The problem is getting worse as climate change causes more and more droughts, leaving large areas of land dry and arid.
Islamic Relief believes in giving water for life. When we build a systems, we want to ensure that after we leave, the locals never need to ask for help accessing water again.
That’s why we take a carefully tailored approach in each area. We build wells in multiple counties, but in some areas there is no groundwater, so digging a well won’t work – we build a rainwater catching system that helps store water. In countries which have wet, rainy seasons followed by long, dry periods, we construct micro-dams and reservoirs, which enables a village to store the water safely for use all year round. And to save women and children the difficult physical task of pumping water by hand, we harness natural energy with solar-powered wells.
It isn’t just about building systems – it’s about building people too. Ten years ago, more than 50,000 water points across Africa had failed, because no-one taught the communities how to maintain and repair them when they broke. We train local people to take care of their new systems, as well as teaching them how to use water safely to improve health and hygiene, so that when we leave, they have truly been given water for life.
“When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them.” (hadith of the Prophet ﷺ, narrated by Muslim)
Ongoing charity – sadaqah jariyah – is one of the most valuable acts we can do in this life, which continues benefiting us in the next, even after we have left the earth.
InshaAllah, we hope that our water projects are not only a continuing charity, providing water for years to come, but also include beneficial knowledge, teaching communities to access water and keep themselves and their children healthy, knowledge which will be passed on through the generations!