"It was like a dream to us," says Lilian. She says the people in her community never thought they would have safe water.
"We used to wake up very early in the morning to go fetch water," Lilian says. She and others in her community in Gicumbi District, Rwanda would lose hours each day walking to fetch water for the day’s tasks.
"The water was from swamps and there were a lot of diseases caused by using this dirty water, such as typhoid," Lilian says. "Many children suffered from diarrhea."
Sometimes Lilian would walk beyond the swamp to a neighboring community to get water, but the walk was an hour and then she spent an hour and a half waiting in line at the tap stand. The price to fill up a jerry can at this water point was very expensive.
In July 2017, Lilian’s family had a tap stand installed right in the middle of their community. This tap stand is part of the first water system constructed in Gicumbi, which serves over 9,000 people.
"When people came to tell us about the water project we didn’t believe it would happen – until we saw people actually constructing the water system," Lilian says. "Now we have water a few meters from our houses!"
Not only is the water closer, but it’s more affordable for her family. Community members aren’t suffering from typhoid and diarrhea, and children are able to spend more time concentrating on their studies instead of fetching water.
The water system has also given Lilian a new job as the water seller at the tap stand, giving her a new source of income. With her profits from selling water, she has bought livestock to raise.
"My dream is to start a real business and I know I will get there someday," Lilian says. "The money I get from selling water is a first step."
Whenever a community receives access to water, everything changes. Like in Lilian’s village, health improves, time is saved, and jobs like Lilian’s are created. Lilian’s community has water access from the first water system completed in Gicumbi District, a new district where the government of Rwanda invited Water For People to work. As work continues, everyone in all of Gicumbi’s 630 communities will be able to depend on reliable water.