Sixth grader dreams of becoming a doctor to aid kids affected by contaminated water

By Roxanne Angelika S Dela Cruz | Field and Emergency Communications Specialist

AGUSAN DEL SUR — Along the riparian lands of the Agusan River live 40 families who have no direct access to safe drinking water.

“It is common here for children and adults to get sick because the water we use for drinking, cooking, bathing, and everything else are either from rainwater or the river,” Emmie, 37, explains.

Emmie’s 11-year-old daughter, Renabell, was previously admitted to the hospital for three days when she was five. Renabell developed severe rashes from drinking water from the river.

To avoid the same incident, Emmie’s husband, Ricky, a 49-year-old farmer, regularly takes a 30-minute boat ride to the village proper that cost him a roundtrip fare of about Php350 ($7). On these occasional trips, he brings three gallons of water that cost Php30 ($0.63) each back to their home.

“It’s quite expensive for us, so it’s not everyday that my husband make frequent trips to the town to buy basic necessities, especially water,” Emmie adds.

In 2018, Procter and Gamble and World Vision’s Safe Drinking Water Project transformed the way the community use water. The project provided families with a water purifier packets that can clean 10 liters of water in 30 minutes.

“I know how to clean the water we get from the rain and the river,” Renabell shares as she shows how the water purifier packes cleanses the river water in a white pail.

Previously weighed down by costly and arduous task of buying clean water, coupled with the possibility of becoming ill because of contaminated water, the family now feels safe, knowing that their health is no longer at risk. With clean water readily available, the family’s health noticeably improves.

Due to her experience, Renabell aspires of becoming a doctor one day. “I endured pain when I was young because we didn’t have safe drinking water. In the future, I want to help children, especially in our community, if they get sick from consuming contaminated water,” Renabell earnestly shares.

Emmie, her mother, expresses heartfelt gratitude for the project. “This project has helped our community in countless ways,” acknowledges Emmie.

Procter and Gamble and World Vision’s Safe Drinking Water Project continuously provide water purifiying packets to the communities in Agusan del Sur and North Cotabato to ensure children and their families have clean and safe drinking water.

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