Chinese charity brings joy to Ethiopian schoolchildren with clean water supply

On a sunny morning, young schoolchildren happily washed their hands and drank from the new water facilities at Hizbawi Serawit Primary School on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

“The ones painted red are for hand washing, while the blue ones are for drinking water. We have six such facilities in our complex,” said Tigist Mekonnen, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at school.

Lately, Mekonnen and his classmates have been gleefully bidding farewell to the old water facility, which was barely functional due to heavy use by the school’s growing number of students.

“The water installation we had here was only operational a day or two a week due to the limited ration of water made available from the spring. This was ultimately exacerbated by the lack of a dedicated tanker to store the limited water available, “Mekonnen told Xinhua.

Mekonnen is one of more than 23,000 schoolchildren who have benefited from a school-based water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) initiative jointly implemented by the China Foundation for Poverty Reduction (CFPA) and its partners in 20 schools in the Ethiopian capital.

According to Abrham Atnafu, principal of Hizbawi Serawit Primary School, the new functional facilities, which were used earlier this month, have brought relief to students in particular and the school community in general, who are suffering from a lack of sustainable water supply. .

“Thanks to this initiative, we now have a sufficient water reservoir to store adequate water resources, modern hand washing and watering facilities, as well as an electric ultrafiltration system,” said the director. from school.

“Sometimes students had no choice but to eat their lunch without washing their hands properly. This has resulted in a significant number of students suffering from recurrent illnesses and contamination,” Atnafu added.

Between 2019 and 2021, CFPA partnered with Splash International, which enabled the installation of 23 ultrafiltration systems, 157 drinking water facilities and 152 hand washing facilities in 20 schools in Addis Ababa.

Speaking to Xinhua, Abiy Tefera, director of the school improvement program of the Addis Ababa City Education Bureau, stressed the critical importance of the new drinking water facilities for improving health and the academic performance of about 23,425 schoolchildren in the target schools.

“Clean water, hygiene and sanitation are very important for these young schoolchildren to take care of their education carefully and happily,” Tefera said.

“These facilities have allowed students to enjoy a better educational experience while preserving their health and safety,” he added.

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