Lemlem talks about rainfall, taps and water poverty

Last night we were delighted to host Lemlem Berhe, a water, sanitation and irrigation engineer from ADCS (The Adgirat Diocesan Catholic Secretariat), a key CAFOD partner in Ethiopia.

St Thomas of Canterbury parish in Woodford welcomed supporters from several parishes to an evening “Understanding CAFOD” event, and Lemlem spoke about our international work. Supporters (and Lemlem) also found out how we work in the UK and the fantastic work of our volunteers.

Lemlem really bought to life the issues we have been hearing about during Lent and through the Thirst for Change campaign. She explained how lack of access to clean water and safe sanitation affects some of the poorest communities in Africa and how this injustice can be ended.

New toilets for Adega School

We found out how it is particularly challenging for girl students going to school due to the lack of separate toilets. Many girl students actually drop out from school because they have no access to toilets that they feel comfortable to use within the school compound. These are issues that Lemlem is helping to resolve. Adega School has 700 girl students and the project has built girls toilets with 6 separate cubicles with doors in the school compound. So now many more girl students go to school because they have a toilet in their school they use at any time without the shame.

Watch a video of Lemlem sharing how the community helps with the construction of storage tanks and irrigation channels

We also found out more about Lemlem herself. Lemlem means green and she has always wanted to do something that helps the environment! She was the only woman to graduate as an Engineer from her University and she is passionate about the important role women play in developing their communities. Lemlem designs and builds different structures to improve water supply and tackle problems with irrigation in extremely dry and drought prone areas.

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Water is life.

It is as simple as that. Without it we cannot survive. We must stand side by side with others, like Lemlem, to call for an end to water poverty. Diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation claim millions of lives every year. Access to clean water is one of the most basic human needs and a fundamental human right. It’s a scandal that in 2012, clean water is a distant dream for millions of people. By standing together we can turn the tide on water poverty.

Lemlem has come to the UK for the final weeks of the Thirst for Change campaign – in fact her last event will be part of a small delegation to hand in the Thirst for Change actions to 10 Downing Street on 15th May!

(L-R) Rain takes parish volunteer Pat Pugh and Lemlem by surprise!

(L-R) Rain takes parish volunteer Pat Pugh and Lemlem by surprise!

On Friday morning Lemlem popped into Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Wanstead to collect their signed Thirst for Change cards and these will be added to over 30,000 cards already received. There are just a few days left so if you have any signed cards, please ensure they are posted soon. Alternatively, please take our email action >>

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