Ellie Simmonds OBE supports our To be a girl appeal

Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds is to become an official ambassador for WaterAid, and will be supporting our To be a girl appeal this summer.


9 Jun 2014 | UK

Ellie Simmonds, the gold medal-winning Paralympian, is joining WaterAid as an official ambassador. She visited a WaterAid project in Uganda earlier this year, and saw first-hand what it’s like to live without access to safe, clean water and toilets.

A different life

In Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, Ellie met a girl called Sumaya. At just 18 years old – only a year younger than Ellie – Sumaya is already the head of a household. She looks after her three-year-old daughter Katrina, her two younger sisters and her little brother.

Sumaya’s home is the cheapest she can find, at the bottom of a slum built on old swampland. Open streams nearby carry rubbish and human waste and there is no safe water to drink, or toilets to use.

Ellie learnt about the huge challenges Sumaya and her family face, from drinking and using dirty water to missing school and having to pay expensive medical bills.

“Visiting WaterAid’s work was a truly eye-opening experience for me," says Ellie. "As an athlete, I have travelled the world for sports events, but I have never experienced anything like this before.

“I am delighted to support WaterAid as an ambassador and help them bring clean water and sanitation to more people around the world, transforming their lives forever.”

Changing what it means to be a girl

Life without access to safe, clean water and toilets is tough for everybody, but the consequences of not having these basic services affect women and girls the most.

They often spend hours each day collecting water and are left vulnerable to violence and sexual assault when going to the toilet in the open. Because of a lack of human rights, whole generations of girls are living without dignity and missing out on an education, a job, a career and a livelihood.

That’s why this summer, Ellie will also be supporting our To be a girl appeal. Running from 9 June to 9 September, the appeal aims to raise £1 million to help 130,000 girls around the world access safe water and sanitation – and the UK Government has agreed to match every donation WaterAid receives.

Get involved!

Visit to discover more stories from girls around the world, including Madagascar, India, Uganda, Nepal and Burkina Faso, and support our appeal to reach them with safe, clean water and sanitation.