Project Maji's Communications & Advocacy Officer, Muneeza Aftab, spends a day with Dora, a Primary School Teacher and a single mum to two boys; Lawrence and Miracle - to learn about the direct impact of Project Maji's work in her life.
Dora is a 31-year-old KG teacher and a single mum to two boys: Lawrence and Miracle in the Vume Community, rural Ghana. She lives with her mom and her two boys. I met her when she was walking back home from a full day of teaching at school. When asked about the difference the Project Maji waterpoint has made, she recalled how the river water made her children sick. She said the urinary infection would make her children bleed, known as bilharzia. It made her very worried, not only for their health but also because their ill health meant that she knew she would soon need to visit the clinic and pay for the medical treatment. Being a single mum, this cycle of dirty water and disease put a lot of unnecessary additional pressure on her.
In addition, she spoke about the long walk to the river and the steep slippery path she and the women of her village had to take mornings and evenings to be able to cook and clean for their families. Dora had big ambitions for her boys, so she tutored them early in the morning before bringing them to school every morning - so that they stay ahead in their studies. But the long walk to the river in the morning required that she wakes up before dawn and fetches their daily water before the boys wake up. As a teacher, she complained of the high school absenteeism because of how often the little ones in her class would fall sick from drinking the dirty water at the river. She said on top of that, skin rashes were a common complaint from her own children, and the students in her class.
As we entered her home, she admitted that she is now able to get some rest when she comes back home. I didn’t quite grasp it fully until I shadowed her for the rest of her day. She picked up her silver pot and we walked to the Maji Tower that literally sits a few steps away from her house. She tapped the MajiPay token and stood under the overhead spout that eliminates the need for her to bend down and pick up the 25 kilo-heavy pot. In less than five minutes, we were back home. She filled the designated water pot for her family’s use and filled a jug full of clean water for lunch. She then proceeded to change her clothes and instructed Miracle and Lawrence to do the same.
Dora’s mom laid the table and the family sat together to enjoy the Fufu (a corn-based dish) Dora had prepared before leaving for school this morning. After lunch, Miracle - her 8-year-old boy helped her wash the dishes. Then, she headed to the Maji Tower where some of her friends and fellow moms had gathered for some downtime and chats. She spent the entire evening chatting and relaxing. On our way back to Dora’s home, she shared that she is a single mum. She said: “A lot of people advise me to go to Accra and find a better paid teaching position in the city, since I am the sole provider for my kids. But I can’t leave, my boys need me. I have big dreams for their education and careers. They need my time and attention”. She then remarked, “You are a mom too, I’m sure you understand what I am saying”. Indeed, she was right—being present is the most valuable gift she could offer as a mother.
When we got home, it was time to prepare for dinner, so Dora picked up her silver pot again to fetch water for the night. The sun had already set, and it was dark but the solar light on top of the Maji Tower across her home lit up her path, making it safe and easy for her to access clean water for her family.
In this rural corner of Ghana, I witnessed first-hand how easy and sustainable access to clean water creates a profound difference, elevating lives, and empowering dreams. Through Project Maji’s work, stories like Dora’s illuminate the path to a brighter and more promising future for men, women and communities across the world.
Muneeza Aftab Communications and Advocacy Officer, Project Maji
For more stories of lives transformed with sustainable access to safe water, head to our Impact Report 2022-2023.