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WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation ‘make a racket’ about clean water

WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation took over a tennis court at The All England Lawn Tennis Club to create a giant mosaic. It took a team… View Article

SPORTS AND LEISURE NEWS

WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation ‘make a racket’ about clean water

WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation took over a tennis court at The All England Lawn Tennis Club to create a giant mosaic.

It took a team of artists from Sand in Your Eye nine hours to create the striking image on one of Wimbledon’s grass tennis courts next to the iconic Centre Court. Unveiled today, less than a month before the world’s most-watched tennis event begins, the image features 18-month-old Dylan and his mother Anja, 23, from Antsakambahiny village in Madagascar, who, with the help of WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation, now have clean water in their community.

Across the world, a staggering 703 million people – nearly one in 10 – are living without clean water close to home, and 1.5 billion people – nearly one in five – do not have a decent toilet of their own. Almost half of hospitals, healthcare centres, and doctor’s surgeries in the world’s least developed countries lack clean water.

Without access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene, children’s lives are needlessly and often tragically put at risk. Almost 400,000 children under five die every year due to diseases caused by unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene. WaterAid has revealed that’s more than 1,000 children a day – nearly one child every one and a half minutes. Many more are frequently ill, and often children are forced to spend hours out of school collecting water, compromising their education.

Anja, 23, a local schoolteacher and mother to Dylan, says: “As a mother, what matters most in life is Dylan and his future. Water is close now, which gives me more time to be with him, to play with him, and to educate him at home. Dylan doesn’t get diarrhoea or sick as often because the water we use is clean and healthy. Dylan is an easy little boy. He is amiable, he likes playing, and he is curious. He’s also a little funny.

“As a teacher, what matters most to me is to do my best at educating my pupils – to do what is needed to help them succeed. Before we got running water at school, we used to send some of our older pupils to collect water from the pond down the hill. Then we had to ration what they got. Now, teachers and pupils can drink water anytime we want. Pupils can wash their hands whenever they need. They are now able to play and just be kids. They can focus on their studies and have more time to read books at our library.”

Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said: “Clean water is a game changer; it has the power to unlock people’s potential, meaning children like Dylan can grow up healthy and communities can thrive. It means less time wasted walking to collect water and more time to learn, work, and play. But nearly one in 10 people around the world live without this essential resource close to home.

“This giant tennis mosaic, at Wimbledon’s world-famous grounds, is a poignant reminder of how more than 1,000 children’s lives could be saved each day of The Championships if everyone, everywhere had safe water, toilets, and hygiene.

“Together with the Wimbledon Foundation, WaterAid is working tirelessly to call game, set, and match on the water crisis and create a world in which all of us can survive and thrive.”

Bruce Weatherill, Chairman of the Wimbledon Foundation, said: “Children should have the chance to play, learn, and look forward to their futures, no matter where they are born. But millions are being held back due to a lack of safe water and toilets – things that so many of us take for granted. More than 1,000 children’s lives could be saved every day of The Championships if they had access to these essentials.

“That is why the Wimbledon Foundation and WaterAid are working together to make clean water, decent toilets, and hygiene a normal part of daily life in healthcare facilities and communities across the world. These vital services are a game changer, helping to ensure healthy lives full of potential to learn, work, and play.”

The Wimbledon Foundation, the charitable arm of The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships, has been working in partnership with WaterAid since 2017 to help make clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene a normal part of daily life in communities and healthcare centres across Ethiopia, Nepal, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, and Myanmar. Last year, the Wimbledon Foundation announced an extension of the partnership for a further four years, pledging £2.2 million to support the not-for-profit’s work in healthcare centres and communities around the world. The renewed partnership will see the Wimbledon Foundation and WaterAid build on this work and expand into Pakistan and Mozambique.

The tennis balls were donated by Slazenger, Official Ball of The Championships, and the nets by Edwards Sports, supplier of the world’s finest nets used at The Championships. The rackets were loaned by Give It Your Max, a children’s tennis charity whose ongoing sustainability campaign, ‘Unloved & Unwanted’, collects preloved tennis rackets and redistributes them to children in their school programmes, with the surplus sold on their website and the proceeds going back to the charity.

The tennis nets and balls will be donated to local charities supported by the Wimbledon Foundation, including the Tim Henman Foundation and Tennis For Free. A number of tennis nets will also go to the Wandsworth Work and Play Scrapstore, a charity which reuses resources for educational, artistic, play, creative, social, or therapeutic activities.

Find out more about WaterAid’s work at wateraid.org


Image Credit: WaterAid/ Sand In Your Eye. WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation created a giant mosaic – made from tennis nets, balls and rackets – of 18-month-old Dylan and his mother, Anja, from Madagascar, enjoying clean water. The artwork highlights how more than 1000 children’s lives could be saved each day of the Championships if they had access to safe water, toilets and hygiene.

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