Kasese — More than 1,000 residents of Bwenanule Village, Kahendero Parish, Muhokya Sub-county in Kasese District can breathe a sigh of relief after getting clean water.
The Shs37 million water project was funded by Mr Jet Zhu, 17, a student at International College in Uganda (ICU) from the Zhu family in United States of America.
The water project is aimed at serving locals in domestic and cultivation use. Their major crops are cotton, maize and ground nuts.
The residents in the past had to walk long distances in search of safe and clean water.
"I was touched when I was told that young children fall sick due to taking dirty water. They walk long distances of more than 4kms in search of water. I decided that I can change their lives by extending water to them through my family and friends at the college and well-wishers from China and America at large. I thank God that I managed to raise Shs37 million for the project, " Mr Zhu said on Tuesday during the commissioning of the project at Kinyabakazi Trading Centre.
Ms Naome Biira, 58, and a mother of nine, said she depended on dirty streams for the last 14 years.
Ms Biira said due to the long distance, she hardly took a bath.
"I would spend two hours trekking to and from the river meaning that it was four hours a day, but the major challenge was wild animals and snakes that would attack me because of passing through the park. As that was not enough, bathing was a problem because of limited water," Ms Biira said.
Ms Agnes Mbambu, a resident, said they shared streams with animals for a long time.
"I would spend Shs20,000 per month on treating skin ailments that were on and off but now, that problem was solved," Ms Mbambu said.
Ms Juliet Muhindo, 34, a mother of six children and a widow, said she would first bath from the river before carrying a jerrycan of water back home.
According to Mr Zhu, who was accompanied by his family said the project was started in Kasese following a request by Ms Ronah Masika, the project manager of Shalom Mediation Institute, about the need for water in the area.
"I am happy now that my dreams have come true and I believe it will change the lives of many especially women and children who were sexually harassed as they go to fetch water," he said.
Mr Zhu added that he had done six shallow wells in Africa but not a big project like the one done in Kasese saying that as he goes back to America next year, he hopes to solicit more funds for charity.
Mr Arnest Kasoke, Muhokya Sub-county chairman said: "Use this water to improve on your hygiene and sanitation since you were attributing poor hygiene to lack of water. Use the money you were spending on water to improve your social life. Stop taking excessive alcohol but use the water as your turning point to new life".
Rev Wilson Maali, the chairperson of the project,said the district leadership had failed to extend services to the people claiming limited funding adding that even little money can do something.