BUILD A WELL IN AFRICA
2,402 schools in South Africa have
no water supply
Our story began in the summer 2005, when mother and daughter Joanne and Brittany visited the Limpopo province of South Africa. Chance circumstances landed them at Beretta Primary School in Acornhoek, an impoverished town located in a former “Bantustan,” or apartheid-era “homeland.” Beretta had over 1,200 students and no running water, a reality most schools in rural South Africa must face.
The lack of nearby running water made life at Beretta extremely difficult. School gardens, which provided for many students their only source of fresh fruits and vegetables, grew exclusively during the rainy seasons. Volunteer mothers walked several miles to retrieve buckets of water from a government pump to prepare lunch for the children. Without operating flush toilets, students were forced to use unsanitary pits and were not able to wash their hands to keep from spreading illnesses. Beretta, however, was not unusual. Sanitation, hygiene, and water access are some of the biggest obstacles for rural schools not only in South Africa, but across the entire continent.
Brittany and Joanne teamed up to raise funds for a borehole (deep water well) at Beretta Primary. In 2006, a well was completed the help of South African friends Brendon and Sheri Schmikl. Water at Beretta Primary significantly improved student health and nutrition through a thriving garden.
Since then, ASoH has drilled wells at 27 schools in South Africa. In addition to drilling wells, we have also developed, with the assistance of the dedicated principal of Beretta Primary, Leanette Sithole, a comprehensive permaculture program, in which all our partner schools participate. This program allows the schools to maximize the yield from their gardens and conserve the precious water supplied by their wells.
However, many challenges continue to present themselves. Sanitation remains a big issue. Many schools lack adequate toilets or kitchen facilities to prepare the food grown in their gardens. Our dedicated team is always searching for solutions. For instance, we are installing waterless toilets at some of the campuses and we maintain relationships with all our partner schools, allowing us to identify those which are struggling with garden cultivation or need repairs on their irrigation infrastructure and provide them the necessary ongoing support.
We are a small charity, but we are constantly seeking new ways to grow and extend our support community. We have developed partnerships with South African Airways, the Irie Foundation, and House of Mandalea, among others. One of the advantages to being a small charity is that we have very low overhead and all funds donated are directed towards projects.
Visit the schools page to see case studies of and stories from our partner schools and to see all the locations of the schools we have helped.
Give now and help us continue to build wells in Africa. A gift as little as $5 can supply water to a child for a year! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter. Just click on the buttons below!