As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, most of the headlines on the deadly pandemic have focused on China, the United States and Europe, but as the World Health Organization reported on March 12, there are more than 100 cases recorded in 11 countries in Africa.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we are deeply concerned that virus will spread throughout the continent causing many more cases, and eventually deaths.
It is particularly worrying in light of the fact that, unlike in the U.S., Europe and China, tens of millions of Africans do not have the ability to take the most basic measure to prevent transmission of the virus – washing their hands with clean water.
Thanks to our supporters, for the past several years, Bread and Water for Africa® has been able to fund the digging of clean water wells in African countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, and this year we are working on a major clean water development project with our partner in Uganda to provide clean water to thousands.
Among the countries with reported cases is Cameroon, where last year we were able to dig a well for the village of Abomvomba serving thousands in the remote rural village.
Today, those children, men and women have the ability to drink water without the risk of getting sick from drinking from a contaminated source, as well as being able to wash their hands, which will go a long way towards keeping them from getting the virus.
In Kenya and Uganda, countries served by Bread and Water for Africa®, thankfully there have been no reported cases, so far, and the governments are taking steps to be prepared when the day likely comes.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we have been taking steps for years to prevent illness through contaminated water sources by providing rural African communities with wells saving tens of thousands from risking their lives every time they take a drink.
With the urgency of the virus on their doorsteps, the time is now to help Bread and Water for Africa® continue our mission to provide clean water to thousands more for drinking, cooking, bathing – and washing their hands.
In the Bahir Dar region of Ethiopia, there are 31,904 boys and girls attending primary and preparatory schools and are in desperate need of current text and reference books.
And thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® 22,000 books in a 40-foot shipping container are on the way.
Bahir Dar University, a public university founded 56 years ago, is among the most prestigious in the country, is partnering with Bread and Water for Africa® to distribute the books to 20 schools in three different towns.
“Although these 20 schools have libraries, they are not fully furnished with contemporary books that would expand students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes,” says Bahir Dar University spokesperson Abiy Menkir Gizaw. “As their libraries are not fully furnished, students are not using the libraries as expected. With the coming of these books, it is expected that the number of students using the libraries will increase significantly.”
For one brief, heartbreaking period in their young lives all that the three brothers Wilson, Samuel and Joseph had was themselves after unbelievably being abandoned by their mother.
And it was on a dark, rainy evening in Kenya when a neighbor heard their desperate crying that a concerned, compassionate neighbor came to their rescue.
Though she tried to locate the boys’ mother, she was nowhere to be found – and with nowhere else to turn, the woman brought Wilson, Samuel and Joseph into the loving, welcoming arms of Phyllis Keino, the founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home, a longtime partner of Bread and Water for Africa®.
“On arrival, they were weak, hungry and very malnourished,” Phyllis told us. “They came with many ailments.”
In addition, never having been to school, they could neither read nor write and showed signs of being mentally challenged.
Phyllis does not select the orphaned and abandoned children who are brought to her. Whether this is by government officials, the police because their parent(s) are in prison, or caring citizens, she instantly gives them her love as if each is one of her own, because from that moment on they are.
The horrors of their past lives are thankfully unknown, but what is known is that these three boys have a present filled with a love they have likely never known, the basic necessities of life including health care and an education, and hope for a long life and a bright future – thanks to Phyllis and the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®.