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Married Before Thirteen and Living in the Sahel - This is Habessa's Story

“I was married at 12. It was much too young.”


Meet Habessa, a woman in Chad who knows firsthand the burden women carry without access to clean water.

Habessa shared her story, a common one for women in this region of Chad, Africa. 

“I was told that if I got married, I would move to the city and go to school. That’s what I wanted more than anything, so I agreed. But that didn’t happen. My husband decided he didn’t want me to go to school, but instead to stay at his house and cook, clean, and collect water for the family.”

In the Sahel Region—a narrow strip of land south of the Sahara Desert—water is scarce and hard to find. Habessa spent hours a day walking to find water. 


Two countries in this region—Chad and Niger—face a massive need for clean water and are unreached. The dominant religions are Islam and animism, and most women living here do not have access to hear the gospel. 

Habessa shared how she went through a divorce, moved to a small village again, and became the third wife of the village leader. 

“Here, unless somebody fights for the girl to go to school, she’s not going to. Collecting water every day keeps young girls from being able to go to school.”

Speaking of a friend, Habessa shares, “her first husband would say to her, ‘No, you're not allowed to go to school because I need you here, you need to search for the water and take care of the house. If you go to school then who will do these things?’"


“One of the big problems is you have to go so far to get [water]...”


Having better access to water would really improve things, giving women more time for going to school. spend so much time walking, when water is right there you don't have to spend that time. So when water is right there you can be more available for school and other things.” Habessa shares as she emphasizes the weight of not having access to clean water.



Today, Habessa’s community has access to clean water.


Through a neverthirst project, a local pastor began sharing the gospel with her husband. Habessa started listening, and is actively asking questions about faith and eternity.

Now that her village has clean water, she has more free time that may someday give her a chance to learn to read and write. But even better—because of the pastor, she is learning about the One who brings hope even into hopeless situations. About the Jesus who valued women, encouraged them to sit with men at His feet as He taught, and invited them into the most important moments of His life.

We long to see more unreached women like Habessa have access to clean water and learn about the love of God. And together, this is possible.


We invite you to help us fight for unreached women like Habessa. 


$40 a month brings clean and living water to one woman like Habessa, reaching the unreached and making a way for their next generation to have a different life

When 1,000 new donors commit to this calling, we can end the water crisis for an entire unreached region.

This is possible. Help us fight for unreached women, so their burden is no longer carried alone. 

"I want really badly in my heart for my children to get an education. This is my hope for all of my children, to get a very good education and to be able to have their own homes,” Habessa tells us.

Your gift can empower women of these villages to rest, to attend school, and to experience the love of God.

P.S. Click here to see our financial reporting and why we're recognized for ROI on Kingdom Impact. We're serious about making every dollar count.

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