James Juma (not real name), had a dream of becoming one of the successful people in Malawi. To him, he realized that education was the only way to become what he wanted to be. His parents had hope in this young child because he worked hard in his studies.
Unfortunately, James died unexpectedly. His parents’ hope was shattered. He was hit by a car as he tried to cross the road from his school to look for the water to drink because there was no even borehole at the school.
We want to reduce the water problems in Schools-Mia
The boy was hailing from Lower Shire, a very hot district with over 40 degree Celsius and was a pupil at Mikolongo Primary School.
Water is a pivotal issue in Islam and from the Quran,it is evident from numerous verses that water is a major theme which is dealt with both symbolic and practical level. Many verses are about creation since by divine intervention everything originated from water (Sura of Salvation 25,54; Sura of Light 24,45). Not only mankind but animals, plants and flowers need water as the basis for life to assure its continuation.
Water is described as a gift from God so that humanity can benefit from it. Water is also a symbol of resurrection since paradise is always described as a place with rivers flowing and florid vegetation (Sura of the Bee 16, 30-31).
The death of James shocked many and it only required people with innovative minds to respond to that in a way that no any other lives should be lost again
Mikolongo primary school has over 1500 students
One of the organisations that responded to this tragedy is Islamic Relief Malawi. Islamic Relief has embarked on the campaign of providing water taps in different schools to ensure that pupils have an access toportable water especially in the rural areas.
Islamic Relief Head of Programs Sharifa Mia said they decided to introduce this project after observing that pupils in different areas are not doing well in their studies because they miss classes by traveling a long distance to fetch water in order to quench their thirsty.
Guest of Honor Chilongozi cuts the ribbon to officially handover the tap to Mikolongo pupils
Mia was speaking this during the handover ceremony of the piped water which the organization has contributed to MikolongoPrimary School in the area of Traditional Authority Mlilima in Chikwawa district.
“We have introduced this project which is called water supply and food security and we integrated water supply and food security because we have observed that they are the major challenges currently the country is facing especially Chikwawa since it experienced drought and the weather is always hot which brings more troubles to pupils during their learning process .
“The other thing which forced us to come here at Mikolongo school is that this is the school that lost a pupil who was hit by a vehicle when he was trying to look for water on the other side of the road, it is very bad,” said Mia.
Islamic Relief assisted with the Solar Panels which are generating power to pump water from the ground and drained into the water tank which are distributed to the taps and asked the government to take part in conserving these facilities to last longer.
“We have spent over 3 million kwacha for this project which we got it from our donor partner Islamic Relief Canada and we are asking government to take part in taking care of these facilities. We have arranged a lot of programs to conduct in Chikwawa since we have observed that a lot of schools have no access to portable water and we want to reduce that problem but this can at least work very well if government takes an active part in terms of repairing if one has broken down,” said the Head of Programs.
This a welcomed development in my constituency-Hon Thomsom
Member of Parliament for Chikwawa North Hon Harry Thomson commended Islamic Relief for its effort to reduce water problems in his constituency in particular and in Chikwawa as a whole.
“This is a very welcomed development from the Islamic Community and this will help my constituents to live in a health life because water is very important to every living thing and let me also ask other religious organizations to do the same in this area as well as other areas,” said Thomsom
In her remarks Annie Chilongozi,Principle Administrative Officer for Chikwawa districtwho was also the Guest of Honor representing the ChikwawaDistrictCommissioner said it is something great since Mikolongo school is a Christian owned institution.
Chilongozi testing the water pressure generated by solar power
“We know that there are a lot of Islamic Schools and other institutions in the country, it would be easy for this organization taking this good development to those institution but they have decided to come here at Mikolongo primary school to give us water. This school is owned by the Christians but they did not consider about that, this shows love to us and we will work hand in hand with Islamic Relief where ever it goes in my district,” said Chilongozi.
Islamic Relief Malawi is an organization which started its operations in 2006 in Malawi and it mainly offers its services to the Southern region of Malawi. Apart from donating the piped water, the organization also donated 6 bin boxes and wheelbarrow which will be used for hygienic purposes and 30 kgs of rice as seed.
Water conservation is grounded in Islam. Islamic principles and ethics, in fact, have always advocated a good conduct towards the environment and respect for the natural resources.