East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia has low rainfall and the rainy season is much shorter than the dry season. Clean water is limited, and in some communities, like Olafuliha, water is only available in one particular area. 

Every day, caregivers of the children in Compassion's programme in this area must walk two kilometres to fetch clean water at the nearest borehole. The hilly, rough terrain adds to the difficulty. They have to work extra hard to carry a bucket full of water on their head or shoulders or even push a wooden cart filled with dozens of jerry cans.  

Hana Hoinbala is a mother of three who struggles to access this essential need. Every day, Hana loads 17 jerry cans into a wooden cart and drags it to the nearest borehole. “If I don’t push the cart and fill all the jerry cans, I can’t cook for my family, and my children can’t take a shower,” she said. "At the end of the day, I always feel pain in my back and my waist." 


Jerry-Cans-blog-body.jpgHana Hoinbala with her daughters

The water shortage is challenging at the best of times, let alone a global pandemic where handwashing is critical in reducing the virus's spread. Hana makes up to four trips to the borehole a day. 

In 2019, Hana's daughter Alika was registered into the Child Sponsorship Programme. Since then, the 10-year-old has learned how to practice a healthy and hygienic lifestyle that begins with proper handwashing. "My tutor taught me to wash my hands not just with water but with soap too," she said. 

When the local government required all households to provide handwashing facilities at home because of the Covid-19 outbreak, Alika understood. She and her parents took a plastic water dispenser and made it into a water container for handwashing.  

"I was amazed when I visited children at their homes and found that all the parents had provided a water container for handwashing, as per the government's instruction," said the project director Wenci Aploni Malessy.

Compassion's church partner also provided families with hygiene supplies and toiletries including soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and face masks. Hana's family received two packages of the supplies because Alika and her brother are registered in the programme.  

"Our soap is always limited at home. But because of soap support from Compassion, I don't need to be worried when my children use the soap very often," she said. "The sanitary supplies from Compassion were not only used by my children, but we as parents can use them, too." 

The hygiene supplies are distributed to each child once a month along with vitamins, milk, and groceries. "In a day, I wash my hands more than five times to keep bacteria and viruses away from me," Alika explained. "I always help my mother to take water from the borehole. My brother will put water in the dispenser, so we can use it to wash our hands."  

Hana is committed to making sure her children practice the hygienic lifestyle they have learned at the Compassion centre. Despite the water scarcity, Compassion's church partner's support means her children can still maintain good hygiene to protect themselves. 

"My children not only received food and vitamins at the project, but they learn lots of lessons that will be useful for them in the future," said Hana.


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