by NZ CATHOLIC staff
BLENHEIM — A village in Kenya now has its own well, thanks to fundraising by a Blenheim youth group.
St Mary’s youth group in Blenheim has been sponsoring a child, Joseph, in the village of Emali for about 12 years, through Christian Childfund. He turned 15 last month.
Youth group coordinator Mieke Davies said that after she visited the village in 2012, she was overwhelmed by the poverty in the country, and especially that of the family, in one of the
driest areas in Kenya.
“The youth group wanted to do something significant for the family, and we started raising the $9000 needed to build a borehole well that would provide them with clean water for drinking, cleaning and crops,” she stated.
The group began with a fundraising concert, which made $3000, and over the following six months, many donations started coming in and they reached their goal in record time.
“My brother Karl, who was living in Kenya, went to see progress of the drilling etc on May 10 this year,” she stated.
The well was drilled three days before he arrived, and completed just a day or two after he left.“The well will be able to extract 500 litres of water an hour. It is 80m deep
— the deepest in the area. This project will affect 200 households (up to 1000 people) who would otherwise either have to walk 2km to the next well, or dig into a nearby riverbed.”
The well is on Joseph’s family’s property, giving them a steady income of about 10-20 Kenyan shillings (15c) for every 20 litres of water.
The youth group showed a video clip at Mass in Blenheim recently, Ms Davies said. “They loved it! The whole parish is excited at the news, and especially that the well is on the family’s
property, and will mean huge changes in their lives in such a positive way!
“The well means they will have CLEAN water! They will no longer be sick from contaminated water, or spend all day fetching the dirty water from miles away. They can spend more
time at school, as well as grow crops and have a sustainable income.”
A plaque will be attached to the well saying that it was a St Mary’s Youth Group-funded project.
“This was truly a parish effort, and we can’t believe we got to the finish so quickly,” Ms Davies stated.