WaterAid invites churches to help bring clean water to girls in Nepal this Christmas

Posted by
Alice Barnard
25 November 2021
WaterAid/ Sailendra Kharel

WaterAid is inviting churches and community groups across the UK to support its Thirst for Knowledge appeal this Christmas and help bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to schools around the world, so girls have the chance to learn and reach their potential. 

All public donations before 15 February 2022 will be matched by the UK government, up to £2 million, doubling the impact in communities across Nepal. 

Globally, just over one third of schools do not have a decent toilet and 31% of schools do not have a basic water service. For pupils in Lahan, Nepal, a lack of toilets in school means many girls stay at home during their periods. Without clean water on site, pupils must leave the school at breaktime to go to a nearby well, arriving back to class late. This water is also dirty so they sometimes get sick, meaning they miss even more of their education.  
WaterAid’s Thirst for Knowledge appeal will help bring clean water and toilets to schools, helping girls like 12-year-old Puja’s in Lahan. Puja is at the top of her class but without these essentials, she is missing out on the chance to achieve her dreams.  
Puja said: 

“There is a problem with the toilets and drinking water at my school; I have fallen ill by drinking the water. When we get thirsty at school, we go to the nearby well. We miss classes and teachers scold us for being late. When girls menstruate at school, it affects their studies as they return home since there are no pads and toilets in our school. Without education, I can’t fulfil my aim of becoming a nurse.”  

By fundraising for WaterAid this Christmas, congregations and community groups can help provide schools like Puja’s with clean water systems, drinking and handwashing stations and separate toilets for girls and boys. Just £122 could help pay for four 5,000-litre water tanks to store clean water at schools, which means girls will no longer have to fetch dirty water and miss classes. 
Matched funding from the UK government will help bring these clean water, toilet and handwashing facilities to 28,000 people and 30 schools in the Bardiya district of Nepal. Provision will be made for girls to manage their periods safely and hygienically, so they no longer worry about missing out on their education or fetching water. 

Judit Palotai, Senior Community Marketing Officer at WaterAid said: 

“It is heart-breaking that so many girls are missing out on their education because of a lack of clean water and decent toilets. In Nepal, more than one in three adolescent girls leave school after primary education.  With the support of churches and community groups this Christmas, we can give girls the chance to learn and have a brighter future.  

“Donations will make a lasting difference to girls’ lives and provide vital facilities like clean water and decent toilets in schools. We invite churches to play their part and join our Thirst for Knowledge Appeal, helping give girls an equal chance to learn with dignity and in safety.” 

WaterAid has produced a range of free educational and fundraising resources for congregations, including Sunday School session ideas, Puja’s story, a poster, fundraising ideas and a 2022 wall calendar.  
Access these resources at wateraid.org/uk/christmas 
For more information, please contact: 
Alice Barnard, Media Team Assistant [email protected] or Anna France-Williams, Senior Press Officer [email protected] Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552, or email [email protected]
UK Aid Match   
The UK Government will match donations made to the Thirst for Knowledge appeal between 16 November 2021 and 15 February 2022, up to £2million, making double the impact for communities in Nepal. With the match funding the public will unlock from the UK government, WaterAid will work with local partners in the Bardiya district in Nepal to construct water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in 30 schools, to promote children’s rights through child clubs and to run income-boosting activities such as making liquid soap and sanitary pads.   


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 million people with decent toilets.

For more information, visit our website wateraid.org/uk, follow us on Twitter @WaterAidUK@WaterAid or @WaterAidPress, or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

  • 785 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] Prüss-Ustün et al. (2014) and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2018)

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage

[5] wateraid.org/uk