Employees, customers, and friends of Wilo Brazil participate in the "Water for Lives" volunteer program organized by the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity Brazil.
Riacho das Almas, Pernambuco, Brazil. The project "Water for Lives" aims to support communities and families in the semi-arid region in the northeast of Brazil by constructing cisterns for families in need of drinking water. The financial aid of the Wilo-Foundation, the main shareholder of Wilo Group, enabled the construction of 17 cisterns since 2020, ensuring clean and drinking water for many families. During five days of construction work in August 2022, the last four cisterns have been built together by employees, customers, and friends of Wilo Brazil, under the organization of Habitat for Humanity Brazil.
"During the last week we had the pleasure to act, together with Wilo’s employees & customers, in a community of the northeast of Pernambuco that is extremely needy in access to drinking water. Thanks to the Foundation's donation, Habitat Brazil was able to build 17 cisterns in the region, being the last four made with the help of the company's volunteers. In this period, the volunteers constructed from the very beginning, cisterns for water collection and storage, making it possible for four additional families to live with more dignity. By getting involved in the project, the volunteers built much more than just the cisterns: the day-to-day work shared with the beneficiary families and the masons who helped with the construction work built significant bonds between the volunteers and the local population. The joy of delivering the cisterns to the families was mixed with a certain melancholy. The emotion was stamped in the faces of everyone, as well as the certainty that along with the longing, the volunteers of Wilo also leave the hope of better days for the community" says Rebecca Botelho Portela de Melo, field coordinator of Wilo's volunteer brigade and responsible for the volunteering project at Habitat for Humanity Brazil.
Our biggest thanks go to our volunteers: Jerry Facundes Silva, Thiago Vinicius Magiri Lotti, Almir Belo da Paz, Rodrigo Pedrosa de Figueiredo, Samantha Jones, Ingryd Diogo Pires, Ariane Chaves da Cruz, Bruno Ayres and Gessica Amorim and our field organizer Rebecca Botelho Portela de Melo and site engineer Luciana Macário Simões. Without this great teamwork and all the effort and dedication put into this challenging week, but of great fulfilment of dreams, we would not have been able to deliver the cisterns and thereby change the lives of these families.
About the region & daily challenges
All the chosen families had great difficulty in obtaining water resources, having to collect water from unreliable areas such as clay pits, which is used daily for house cleaning or often even for personal hygiene. In conversation with Edjane, who lives with her husband Jorge and their three children in one of the benefited houses, she says that they are entitled to five buckets of water daily, but in order not to lack water for the other families that need this help as well, they only collect four buckets. In the winter, from June to September, many of the clay pits are full of rainwater, but in the summer, they usually dry up completely, making it more difficult for the families to collect water, in some cases having them walk several kilometers to collect it.
The construction of the cisterns
The first part of the construction of a cistern involves the digging of the hole where the cistern will be built. This activity is the responsibility of the families and their counterpart in the project. In some cases, partnerships are made with the Municipal Government to provide a digging machine. Local masons, from Riacho das Almas, with experience in cistern construction have been selected by Habitat for Humanity Brazil. This is important to ensure the quality of the work and to contribute to the local economy and employment opportunities. The average time to build a concrete cistern of 16,000 litres is five days. The cisterns are round, covered, and half-buried in the ground. It is completely built with concrete blocks and iron bars, and filters to keep insects and other small particles out of the water. All parts are handmade using local materials and local technology. Along with the cistern, the houses are also equipped with gutters to direct the rainwater that is captured through the roof into the cistern.