The Best Back to School Gift for a Community

Water is a Gift for All

It’s that time of year again! School is about to begin, and families are preparing to send their children back to the classroom to gain an education. But not every family can do so this year. 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 6 boys of primary age won’t be attending school this year. 

Education is one of the most powerful ways to break the cycle of poverty in a community. But children can’t go to school if basic human needs are not met first. One of those basic needs is access to fresh, clean water. Each year, 443 million days of school are missed due to water-related issues. 

Here’s why giving the gift of water with Human Concern International’s Water for Life projects can help a community send children to school:

Less Sick Days and School Closures

The United Nation’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal is to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all.” Currently, 1 in 3 people do not have access to clean water, 2 out of 5 do not have access to a handwashing facility, and 673 million people still practise open defecation. 

There is an even more significant disparity of access to water for children in schools. In recent data from the World Health Organization, “43 percent of schools around the world lack access to basic handwashing with soap and water in 2019”. Lack of facilities causes a significant barrier for schools to operate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also mentions that 818 million children don’t have access to handwashing facilities at their schools. A lack of handwashing facilities encourages school closures or missed school days if outbreaks occur, and prolonged delays in school are reopening until safe procedures are put in place.

Aside from COVID-19, other water-borne illnesses are common in areas where proper hand washing is not available. Diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea, cholera and E.coli can spread when infected feces are spread from hands that have not been washed or when people defecate into a mainstream water supply.

Some students are affected by water-borne diseases before even reaching the age to attend school. One thousand children under the age of five die from water-borne illnesses every day.  

If schools had proper handwashing facilities and toilets for students to use, fewer illnesses or school closures could occur to ensure students can gain the education they deserve. Access to clean water at schools through local sources of water is the solution to preventing illnesses. Human Concern International’s Water for Life project in Palestine’s Gaza Strip is building solar desalination units to convert salty Mediterranean Seawater into fresh drinking water.

It Frees Up Time to Go to School

Children, especially girls, are in charge of finding water. Eighty percent of families that live far away from water have women and girls collecting water. In fact, girls spend 200 million hours a year searching and collecting water! Who has time to go to school if you don’t have water for your basic needs?

In worst-case scenarios, these girls who spend time looking for water are at risk of harm by animals, drowning or sexual assaults by strange men. This trauma further perpetuates the cycle of poverty of these girls if they become pregnant, injured, or worse.  

That is why the Water for Life projects aim to eliminate this by building water wells in rural areas that don’t have water sources nearby. The relief of having clean water frees up time for girls to gain an education that will allow them to start a business, further their education, and earn a living for their families. 

Girls Can Go to School with Dignity

Access to water through handwashing facilities and a toilet means girls who reach puberty can go to school. In many schools around the world, there is no toilet for girls to use privately. Often the solution is to go behind a thorny bush that is visible to many classrooms. It becomes humiliating when menstruating girls have no place to go. As a result, girls decide to stay home. 

However, access to clean water at school can reverse this phenomenon of girls dropping out of school. Research has shown that when there is a clean toilet at school, enrollment of girls increases by 15%. That’s why Human Concern International’s goal in 2021 is to have working latrines in schools in Afghanistan, Burundi, India and Pakistan. Check out Water for Life projects for more information. 

Your Impact

Your support for the Water for Life projects will build wells to help these children stay in school. 

By donating to the Water for Life projects, you can help with: 

  • Building new wells in rural areas;
  • Repairing broken or contaminated wells;
  • Determining the needs that best serve vulnerable communities and;
  • Education on best practices for sanitation. 

Did you know that the construction of a deepwater well or a borehole can last up to 50 years? That’s right, 50 years of clean, safe water for communities and their generation to follow.

In the end, whether it’s building a well, a toilet, or just immediate water aid for individuals or families, you’re impacting communities in multiple ways:

  • More wells in the area mean less time taken away from a child to attend school. 
  • More wells means children are sick less often and are attending school regularly.
  • Private toilets at school mean a safe space for girls. Many girls drop out after reaching puberty because they can’t manage their menstrual cycles at school. 

With your generosity, Human Concern International can continue to improve the lives of these children and gain an education. 

Your help can allow us to put support in for these children. Send a child with confidence and health to grow with HCI’s Water for Life projects.


HCI has been proudly serving the Muslim community for 40 years, and through your generosity and support, our programs are continuously improving the lives of many vulnerable people. Each donation made enables us to further the mission of taking impoverished people from crisis to sustainability.

August 31, 2021

Human Concern International

Ottawa, Canada

In The Field

Human Concern International’s staff, volunteers, and partners actively take photos of their time and their work in the field with our beneficiaries as they receive food baskets, medical care, warm meals, and more. To see the latest photos from the field, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

In The Field

Get In Touch

For more information on Human Concern International’s work
please contact us on: info@humanconcern.org