From where I stand: Lorraine Kakaza
The village where I live is surrounded by mines. The biggest challenge that we face is the lack of clean and safe water. The water that comes out of the taps is polluted. We believe that the mines are responsible for this pollution. The water has poisoned our gardens. We used to be farmers. We had livestock, we grew vegetables and could sell them. Since the mines opened, all that changed.
A neighborhood mosque helped us by paying to drill some boreholes, but we’re allowed to use that water only for drinking and cooking. We still have to use the polluted water in our gardens and to wash our bodies and clothes. When we use tap water to wash our private parts, we get rashes and sores. Women whose husbands were working far away would come home and see the sores and think their wives had been cheating.
Three years ago we came up with the idea to tell our stories through podcasts to make the community aware about what was happening to us because of the water. I was the main character in those podcasts. I’m good at it because I don’t change the story; I tell it like it is. I have grown a lot since I started doing this work. People understand our problems more, the husbands know that the water causes the sores, not cheating. It’s a small change, but it matters.”
Lorraine Kakaza, 27, is a community monitor volunteer from Carolina, a small town near the border of Swaziland in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province. She took part in a workshop on the effects of climate change on rural women and women smallholder farmers, hosted by UN Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office in Johannesburg. Her work is related to SDG 13, which focuses on increasing capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries, including focusing on women; and SDG 6, which focuses on universal access to clean water and sanitation, and adequate and equitable access to sanitation for all, especially women and girls.
Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.