Claudio Soares, 65, stands outside his traditional home in Timor-Leste with his wife, children and grandchildren. “We all live in here, all seven of us,” says the chief of Saramata village, showing us the one room they all share. “We don’t have much but we are happy. And we now have water close to home.”
|Claudio Soares, 65, stands outside his traditional home in Timor-Leste with his wife, children and grandchildren. Photo: UNICEF Timor-Leste/2015/Simon Nazer|
His big smile opens up – he is proud of what his village is achieving. “I am also chief of the water management group in the village. I maybe not that smart but the people here trust me on how to lead them and help everyone work together.”
Saramata village now has a year-round water supply, with safe water running through five taps as well as to the nearby school. Many similar villages in Timor-Leste still lack access to safe drinking water, as well as poor access to sanitation facilities.
“With UNICEF’s help, the water came after were declared open defecation free,” says Claudio, now sitting with the other members of the water management group. “We knew it was important to have water to keep clean. All the families contributed local materials and labour, depending on their situations. We all contributed in some way.”