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Orke's story Aba Roba, Ethiopia

Orke Otta and her seven children live in Abba Roba, in the Konso district of Ethiopia. She told us that before WaterAid started working in her village, her family suffered from giardia, a parasite transmitted in dirty water, which causes chronic diarrhoea.

A round trip to collect water took around four and a half hours, and Orke's children would often have to wait until someone had collected water for their first drink of the day. People from the village had been bitten by snakes and died, or fallen and injured themselves when collecting water in this way.

Orke had to make the journey even while pregnant. She told us how she went into labour on the way back from the water source, "I really felt worried because when I gave birth the child just fell on the stone. I didn’t think the child was okay, so I said please take her to the clinic; here she will die because we have nothing and it is very dangerous."

Orke is not the only women to have gone through this. The women in the village would lose track of how many months’ pregnant they were and so continue to collect water. They had no choice.

To improve the lives of these women, we have now installed a motorised borehole in the village, pumping water to seven water pumps. A member of the community acts as a caretaker, and the whole village has been involved in three years of hygiene promotion to support the changes.

Orke says, "Previously, I worried about giving water from the river to my children because they might get ill with water-borne diseases. But now I am very happy to give this clean water to the children.

"This water project has helped us a lot, especially the students. Our children are going to school and learning so I think they are very happy. I hope my children will grow up and get educated and help this community."

Find out more about WaterAid's work in Ethiopia >