More Time Around the Kiln


On most evenings, you can find 27-year-old Bintou Coumare gathered around a homemade kiln with five other women from her village in Mali, singing and firing pots.

The women take turns feeding the flames while chatting about life and laughing together. It’s work. But it’s also a time to relax.

The result in the morning will be a gorgeous collection of pots, bowls and dishes that each of the ladies can sell to friends or families in neighboring villages.

Bintou has doubled her income; she’s earning more money for her family than ever before.

Bintou used to wake up before sunrise and spend three hours each morning waiting in line to collect dirty water from an open well outside her village.

The 800-year-old hole in the ground was one of few water sources available in the area, so women would come from villages all over, and the line was always long. Some women would even arrive the night before and sleep next to the well— just to be first in line the next morning.

Bintou, who has lived here since she was 11 years old, remembers that time well: the diarrhea and vomiting that her family experienced from the dirty water, and how her hands had turned “hard like stone” from years of pulling the rough, homemade rope.

Making pots was much more difficult back then. Between collecting water and taking care of her family, she only had enough time to produce one each day. And that was if she was lucky.

You have to be healthy to do this work,” Bintou said. “You need much strength.

And dirty water was standing directly in the way of that.

But it doesn’t anymore.

In 2013, Bintou’s village received solar-powered pumps, a water tower and a series of tap stands that bring clean water to families right outside their homes.

Today, she and all of the other women here can simply turn on a tap and collect as much clean water as they need.

Which not only means better health and extra strength; it means hours of additional time for Bintou to work on her pottery— or even to relax.

2014 September Campaign

This year’s September Campaign is about bringing health, time and opportunity to women in the Sahel region.

Our goal is to bring clean water to 100,000 people in Mali and Niger. And you can help.

Change a woman’s life by fundraising with us. You can start your campaign at charitywater.org/september.

“In the past, we didn’t have time to do more jobs. But because of the tap, we can make pots, dress hair and sell things like mangoes. We have time to do all of it. Having a borehole has changed our lives.”
-Bintou Coumare