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Ras ZeSilas School, Ethiopia

Our Communications Officer in Ethiopia, Behailu Shiferaw, returns to the school where construction of a new waterpoint has been completed ahead of time.

Staff and pupils are looking forward to a new beginning at Ras ZeSilas School because they know it'll be a very different year.

Thanks to support from schools like yours, this year pupils and teachers have a brand new waterpoint where 14 students can access water at the same time. The new waterpoint will stop pupils missing school to collect water, and give them the chance to concentrate in class and fulfil their education.

Six-year-old Mahlet Tsegaye washes her face at the school's new waterpoint.
Six-year-old Mahlet Tsegaye washes her face at the school's new waterpoint.
Photo: Behailu Shiferaw

It also means pupils can wash their hands with safe water after using the toilet, preventing the spread of eye diseases such as trachoma.

Meet the students

Hiwot Walelign

Hiwot Walelign is a student at Ras ZeSilas School, Ethiopia.
Photo: WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw

"I knew WaterAid would build the waterpoint because you wouldn't come all the way here to make promises you wouldn't keep," says 17-year-old Hiwot Walelign.

"But I never thought it would happen so quickly. I'm leaving the school now, but I have two younger siblings who will benefit greatly from the new waterpoint."

Zebiba Alemu

Zebiba Alemu, 13, a seventh grade student Ras ZeSillas Elementary and Junior School.
Photo: WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw

13-year-old Zebiba is looking forward to having access to water at school. The school has a private room for girls to use when they have their periods, so they can wash and change pads. However, without enough water, most girls preferred to just go home.

"I'm happy the new waterpoint is ready. If you don't have enough water to wash with, you'd rather go home and wash there. That means you'll miss classes. I hope that will change now."

Tekalign Sahile

Tekalign Sahile is a student at Ras ZeSilas School, Ethiopia.
Photo: WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw

Tekalign is 14 years old and has been suffering from trachoma for the last three years because of a lack of safe water. Tekalign has received regular treatment, including two injections into one of his eyes.

"We used to have no water to wash with when we left the toilet, so we hoped we'd remember to wash at home. But after a while we would forget, and touch our eyes or eat with unwashed hands. This exposed us to eye infections and things like diarrhoea," he says.

"Now all that is going to be over. Now everyone has the chance to wash or drink before break is over."

Thank you for taking part in our Schools Linking Project and bringing joy to communities around the world. Please remember to invite your local speaker to your school to bring this update to life – your speaker will have more pictures and stories to share with your pupils!