Mao’s Story

Clean Water Can Change Everything for Mao—eight of her children have died because of unsafe water.

Every year, over 800,000 little ones lose their lives because the water they depend on is not safe. Mao is 43 years old and the mother of 15 children, the eldest 24 and the youngest just 18 months. As we sat and talked, she told me how eight of her children had died, all as babies and all from diarrhea, or ‘sick stomachs,’ as she called it.

Mao told us the ages of each child she lost. The first one had died at only three months old. Each had died in her arms.

The biggest killer in Mao’s village was waterborne illness. Due to the long distance between Mao’s home and the nearest clean water source, Mao and her family often found themselves drinking water from the nearby lake, which our friend described as a “dirty, stagnant pond.”

Hygiene is also a major issue. Due to the lack of toilets in the village, Mao’s family and others do their business on the edge of the rice paddies. With the lack of sanitation facilities, the spread of disease is rampant, and the biggest victims are children under the age of 5. Their malnourished, often nonimmunized bodies, have barely developed a defensive system to fight disease.

Now knowing how difficult finding clean water would be and the deadly impact it would have on her family, Mao regrets having so many children. No parents should live with this regret. Eight tragedies that could have easily been prevented. And Mao’s story is just one of many thousands. No child should lose their life because of dirty water. There are families like Mao’s who need your help today. Without it, more children will die.

Your gift today donation to the Clean Water Can Change Everything campaign can save a child’s life from waterborne illness by providing access to clean water.

If You Must Go, be the first to know

Before you leave, make sure you stay informed! Enter your email address to get worldwide news from ADRA.