Story by Didier NAGIFI, World Vision in DRC Communication Officer
Mama Albertine has been living an interesting story since she became a fountain operator at one of the water points that World Vision installed in her neighbourhood. Thanks to this new activity, she has been able to send all of her children to school and build a new house for her family.
Residing in Gemena - District III, Mama Albertine, 35, is a married mother of six children including four daughters among whom one is registered under World Vision's sponsorship programme. Albertine manages one of the 54 water points that World Vision has installed or repaired in the area.
Before she became a fountain operator, Albertine and her husband Joseph struggled to provide for the needs of their children. "I had difficulty living with my children and had no one I could count on to solve my problems. Paying for their studies, sending them to the hospital, and giving them food was complicated for me,” says Albertine.
"My brothers and I sometimes went two days without eating because our mother had no money to buy food to prepare. It was the neighbours who were assisting us,” adds nine-year-old Mardochée, one of Albertine's children.
As part of its response to the developmental problems in this area, World Vision is working with the community to train fountain operators to properly manage the various water points. Albertine has benefited from the training organised by World Vision on how to manage and maintain a clean water point and she now earns a small salary (USD$ 4 per week) that helps her support her family.
This knowledge has allowed Albertine to get a job in the community managing one of the five water points that World Vision set up at Gemena III.
"Now I am the fountain woman of one of the standpipes installed in my neighbourhood where community members contribute 50 Congolese francs (USD$ 0,025) per 25 liter can before drawing water," Albertine continues.
"This financial contribution has given me a small incentive to sell palm oil and buy a goat to start breeding for ensuring the health and education of my children. I also built a house because my children would sleep in very bad conditions". She adds with a smile.
Mardochée chimes in: "I thank World Vision. Thanks to its management activities, my mother has a job and she earns money for us to be able to go to school. I also dream of becoming a politician, like our President of the Republic!"
Albertine concludes: "I thank World Vision and the Covenant Church for thinking of providing water in our neighbourhood. This water was not only used for drinking, but it also created work for us fountain operators because the little we receive has allowed us to ensure the well-being of our children."