By Emiko Perea
Diyana wakes up early in the morning before the sun is up. She walks carefully in her slippers, shouldering a large basket carrying jugs across uneven terrain without a proper path. After an hour, her feet guided by instincts from the habitual walk, she reaches a well and fills her jugs with water. The weight of the water hurts her back every time and makes the journey back dangerous. She slips on a rock and falls down. Standing up again, she picks the water jugs up and places them back in her basket. She’s hurting but she’s used to it. She makes it back to her home in time to supply her children and husband with water for work and school. After they leave, she prepares herself for making the journey to the well. She needs to return to the well at least five more times in the day and do it all again tomorrow.
Diyana is part of the 60 percent of indigenous women and girls in Malaysia’s rural communities that walk one to two kilometers a day to fetch water for their families. This especially takes a toll on the women, since this is their main role in the community aside from childcare. Not only do the women miss opportunities for education or other productive activities but carrying heavy water daily is detrimental to their health, causing back and chest pains, deformities, arthritis, and miscarriages. They are also vulnerable to sexual assaults and acts of violence as they walk to wells.
Global Peace Foundation (GPF) is a partner with LANEIGE for the Waterful Sharing Campaign, aiding women like Diyana by building easier access to clean water. As of June 19, 2019, LANEIGE resumed its partnership with GPF Malaysia for the 4th year in a row to uplift the lives of women in rural communities. In 2019, this initiative will extend help to 81 houses and 481 villagers across the country that don’t have access to clean water. Not only will portable water filters be provided to each home, but the campaign also raised funds to build gravity feed systems, water pump installations, and water pipes that link directly to the houses.
“Throughout the years of partnership with LANEIGE, we have managed to improve the lives of many underprivileged communities by providing them with clean water,” said Dr. Teh Su Thye, Chief Executive Officer of GPF Malaysia. “Noticing that the lives of many women are crippled by their burden to collect water, we aim to provide them with easier access to a water source and to empower these women for a brighter future.”
“What these women and young girls are going through with the absence of water source pains us deeply as a brand with a sole aim to improve the lives of women around the world,” said Margaret Chin, General Manager of Amorepacific Malaysia.
“We understand that any solution to ending the cycle of poverty for them can begin by bringing water security to these communities.”