Pensioner raises funds for village well in Cambodia

Published 23 March 2013  |  

A pensioner who grew up without water in her home in Wales is helping to raise funds for children living without easy access to safe water.

Elsie Davies, 87, was inspired after her church announced it would be fundraising for a new well for a village in Cambodia.

Elsie recalls growing up on a small farm in mid-Wales with just a couple of cows and sheep but no water, gas or electricity.

"For drinking water we either went to a communal tap in the village or to the well. It was our duty to make sure we had clean drinking water," she says.

"There were times when we had to take animals to the river for water too. It was a real struggle but I have to say it was the happiest childhood imaginable."

These days, Elsie, like most people in Britain, has the convenience of clean running water in her home.

"One day I got up, cleaned my teeth, filled the kettle, washed the dishes and then had a shower. It struck me how much I depended on water and how so many people in the world struggle without it. I knew then I had to do something," she says.

When the fundraising appeal was launched by Mission Church in Morriston, near Swansea, Elsie immediately donated £100 towards the Cambodia project.

Her generosity inspired the rest of the congregation to give and the total soon rose to £420.

Elsie added: "I was brought up in a Christian home and have always given what I can. I've made similar donations in the past. I don't do things like that all the time but sometimes I know I have to do something in order to make a difference.

"We are blessed in Great Britain now that we have access to water but it wasn't always like that, and it certainly isn't like that for people throughout the world today."

The well project is being facilitated by development charity Rope. Graham Fairbairn, Chief Executive of Rope, recently visited Mission Church in Swansea and met Elsie.

He said: "It was inspiring to meet Elsie and realise through her recollection that we have seen significant social change in the UK over the last century. What has been achieved in our country is also possible in other nations.

"Elsie is an inspiring individual who, with the benefit of her own experience, has enabled others to bring about change in one community in Cambodia."

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