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The story of Vickness Nyirenda and the community of Zolomondo

Meet Vickness.
When Vickness Nyirenda arrived in Zolomondo, Malawi, as a new bride in 1990, the community was suffering. Vickness and the other women and children in Zolomondo spent their days consumed by the treacherous task of gathering water.

“Life was so hard because we had to travel a long distance, sometimes 4 kilometers (2.5 miles), for water. This community is close to the game reserve so sometimes animals chased us. Sometimes we could be pregnant and with a baby on our back, so it was difficult to run from the wild animals,” Vickness said.

For the residents of Zolomondo, water was scarce. They often had to dig holes in the ground and wait for hours until enough water seeped up from the ground for them to collect. Sometimes they waited overnight.

The lack of safe, accessible water made life difficult. Waterborne diseases, diarrhea, and food insecurity added to their struggles. Opportunities were limited. There was little hope in the community.

“The businessmen and teachers were declining to stay here. They said they cannot stay where there is no water.”

In 2013, Design Outreach, then a newly formed nonprofit organization, installed its first LifePump in Zolomondo. The promise of LifePump–of safe, accessible water—meant everything to this community.

“The time when the pump was installed here, there was lots of dancing. My children can get a bath. They are encouraged to go to church and Sunday school.”

Over the past 10 years, the community of Zolomondo has been transformed. The women and children no longer spend hours a day getting water. Zolomondo now has a school and a teacher. Residents have planted gardens and built homes.

“My grandchildren, now they are healthy, and they no longer get sick very often. They are also intelligent because of a healthy life. The second house which I built after having water is changing our lives economically because the one who is renting that house is giving the family money.”

When water flows for the first time in a community, it brings hope. When it continues to flow day after day without stopping, it brings faith. In the decade since the installation of the LifePump, Zolomondo has never experienced a day without water.

“Water is life. Without water, we would have perished. When we see LifePump, we see life. When we see Design Outreach, we see God’s hand.” – Vickness Nyirenda

Zolomondo is one of over 300 communities that have been transformed by LifePump over the past 10 years. But there are thousands of communities like Zolomondo that still need our help. Globally, 2.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, while 144 million are reliant on surface water sources.

We need your ongoing prayers and support in order to continue our vital work—to alleviate global poverty through life-sustaining technology.

Together, we can bring hope to many more communities across the globe.

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