Jacinta's daughter Sophonia was often sick with diarrhoea. But when she fell ill a year ago, her mum knew it was worse than ever.

She strapped her little girl to her back and walked the 20km from their home in Maua, Mozambique, to the nearest health centre.

There – short on supplies – staff gave Sophonia a pill, an injection and a night of rest before sending the family home to their remote village.

It was during the long walk back, as Sophonia lay with her cheek pressed against the warmth of her mum, that she quietly passed away. She was two years old.

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No child should die simply because of where they are born. But for parents like Jacinta, keeping their little ones clean and healthy is an impossible struggle.

Without clean water or safe toilets, diarrhoea isn't just commonplace, it's often fatal – and it's the youngest children with their fragile immune systems who are most at risk.

In Jacinta's village almost every parent has suffered the devastating loss of a child, and the even greater tragedy is, they're not alone; every day, 1,400 children under five die needlessly from water-related diseases.

Salvadore drinks dirty water in Mozambique
Jacinta's son, 11-month-old Salvadore, drinks from a cup of dirty water.
Photo: WaterAid/Guilhem Alandry

Jacinta's son Salvadore never got to meet his big sister.

At 11 months old he's just started walking and is busy exploring his surroundings. It should be a magical time, but because of where he lives, it means Salvadore is exposed to disease, bacteria, parasites and dirty water which could kill him.

That's why, at the time of year when we're most focused on the happiness of children, we're determined to address the global issue of child deaths from dirty water.

Help us save more vulnerable little lives. Donate here >