Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Lawayesh Wonde lives in a slum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is the accountant for a WaterAid project that has built a rainwater-harvesting tank, toilets and showers in the slum.

Before the project, people defecated in the nearby forest, and many drank unsafe water from the river where everybody washed.

Lawayesh has HIV, so her immune system is weak. To stay healthy, it is especially important that she has clean water to drink and wash with.

When she was diagnosed 13 years ago, the stigma meant people in the community shunned her. Now, she teaches local people about health and HIV prevention, and is no longer stigmatised. She has a daughter, and plans to open a shop to sell soap.

With clean water and toilets, Lawayesh has transformed her life, and is changing those of people around her. She says the improvements since the project have been tremendous.

“Before, my hope was over. Now I am even starting to sell veg and go to school. I’m seeing some hope that I can change my life. The shadow of death has passed.”

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