Reaching Families Through Clean Water

Reaching Families Through Clean Water

By: Tonny Tunya, Indonesia Field Communication Specialist   |   Posted: March 21, 2011

Remote Community Receives Access to Clean Water Through Compassion's Complementary Interventions Program
Remote Community Receives Access to Clean Water Through Compassion's Complementary Interventions Program

Now, with access to clean water, children in the Compassion-assisted center are able to practice good hygiene.

With its trees, mountains and beaches, West Sumba Island in Indonesia looks like a lush paradise. Yet severe poverty is a part of everyday life here, and villagers struggle just to find clean water.

Village wars are still common here, so houses are built on more easily defendable high ground. But water sources are typically found down lower in the valleys. Families end up carrying water from the rivers in the valleys up to their homes in the hills. All family members, including small children, are responsible for carrying water.

Because it is so scarce, they use the water very carefully, using it only to cook and wash dishes. They bathe and wash clothes at the river. Children's hygiene is often neglected, as they can't bathe and wash their hands often. Skin diseases are common among the villagers.

A Road to Intervention

Pastor Benyamin Kondi leads Mondomia Christian Church in Marada Kalada village on this island. People here recognize him and his family — a wife and two young daughters — as part of the local people. This has been a major benefit for Pastor Kondi, to minister in his own area, among his own people.

Pastor Kondi's church began partnering with Compassion in 2006. After several years of partnership, the pastor realized a Complementary Interventions (CIV) program might be able to bring clean water to the church. This would help his people and serve as a model for how to live a healthy life.

There are springs located in the lot behind the church, and they are owned by a native Sumbanese family. For a long time the springs were considered sacred by the community. But Mr. Bilikali, the owner, has allowed the church to use the water as long as they need, with no time limit. His family respects the church and the good work they do among the children.

Clear Water as a Vehicle to Spread the Gospel

A CIV water project began in August 2010. Parents of Compassion-assisted children worked hand in hand, building a permanent well at the spring and a concrete water tank at the church. The project was completed just three months later. Currently use is still limited to Compassion-assisted children and church activities. In the future, the church hopes to make the clean water available to the whole community.

In the meantime, the water tank is helping the 240 children at Compassion center IO-784 to practice good hygiene. Children were told to wash their hands regularly before, but now they can actually do it alongside their teachers and mentors.

Pastor Kondi knows this project will impact not only children but also their families. "I hope through this intervention, the church will have access to more family members to share the gospel," he says.

In this region, in which ancestor worship and animism are commonly practiced, the good news of Christ is unfamiliar to most. Many of the parents are unbelievers, but they allow the church to take care of their children. The church's testimony has been further extended by its commitment to provide clean water for the children here.

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