Mandy O’Mahoney tells us about her experience of volunteering in Ghana with the Safe Water Trust to provide safe drinking water for communities and families.
I first went to Ghana in April 2011 to do voluntary work with children. I observed young children walking to collect water in buckets from a local stream as part of their daily routine before school. This water was dirty and contaminated and meant many children were suffering from diseases including bilharzia which causes damage to the kidneys. This brief experience really made me realise how much we take our clean water supply for granted here in the UK.
I felt I had gained so much from visiting Ghana that I wanted to return and be able to give something back to this community. Rebecca, one of the project co-ordinators gave me the contact details for Gill Griffiths at the Safe Water Trust. Gill told me there were community filters which had already been sponsored and just needed a willing volunteer to take them out. Having been before I knew I could manage with hand luggage for my personal belongings which meant I could use my 2 x 23kg allowance for the filters plus some books and clothing to donate.
Taking the water filters out to donate to one of the villages was a truly humbling experience. To be able to personally demonstrate how easy the filters are to use and to witness the children’s huge smiles as they saw the dirty water pumped through the filter into clear safe drinkable water was incredible.
The other volunteers who were there all said it was an unforgettable experience. I met one particular inspirational volunteer, Mat Boner, who funded and helped build a primary school. Mat has recently returned with water filters so that the children of Osubensu village will now have education and a safe drinking supply—things that all children should have, yet many still do not.
Mandy is returning to Ghana this month and taking more Aquafilters with her.
If you are planning on volunteering in Ghana or heading to a developing country and want to leave a lasting effect, contact the Safe Water Trust at www.safewatertrust.com and take an Aquafilter with you.
This article was in partnership with the Safe Water Trust.