This summer, WaterAid – a charity whose aim is to transform lives by improving access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene in some of the world's poorest communities – is on a mission to raise £1 million and to change the story for more than 130,000 girls around the world through its To Be A Girl appeal. And you can help.
Water collection is almost exclusively the job of women and girls in the developing world. One in 10 girls around the world do not have access to safe water, and one in three do not have basic toilets – leaving them no choice but to carry their own body weight every day in water so dirty it could kill them. Without these basic rights, they are often unable to attend school, and are vulnerable to illness, harassment and worse. In many areas, such as in the region of Surkhet in Nepal (pictured), in a practice known as 'chaupadi' girls are excluded for the duration of their period every month because they are considered unclean and might 'pollute' those they come into contact with.
WaterAid estimates that girls around the globe – from Madagascar to Burkina Faso to India to Nepal – spend 152 million hours every day collecting water for their families. Building safe, clean water sources near their homes can help them put those hours back into education – and empower these brave strong girls to change the future of their entire communities.
And until 9 September the UK government will double your donation as part of WaterAid's To Be A Girl campaign – every pound raised this summer will be matched by the Department for International Development.
To find out more about WaterAid's work and to make your donation now, go to wateraid.org/uk
Photograph: WaterAid/Poulomi Basu. The picture shows 16-year-old Radha Bishwa Karma at a chaupadi hut miles from home in Surkhet district, Nepal