Stop-motion movie helps share WaterAid message

UK based charity WaterAid has produced it's first ever stop-motion animation - The Girls Who Became Water.

The animation is based on the experiences of 14-year-old schoolgirl Pabina, from Lahan, south-eastern Nepal, and highlights the issue of access to clean water and sanitation across the world. Globally, 771 million people – that’s one-in-ten - have no clean water close to home.

Pabina explains: “The school should have clean drinking water, a toilet, and a place to change pads during menstruation. Girls like me have to go to school to study and to achieve things in the future. If we don’t go to school, it will affect our future negatively since we can’t do as many things that others can."

Clean water and decent toilets at school could make a huge different to girls in Nepal and WaterAid says that by giving now, donations go further as the UK government will match public donations made between 16 November 2021 and 15 February 2022 up to £2 million.

Nepal’s extreme landscapes, earthquakes and changing climate all contribute to making it difficult to reach people with vital facilities. The water in Pubina’s school is yellow and dirty, and there’s only one toilet block, which the headteacher says is in a ‘critical’ condition, meaning most children relieve themselves in the fields. Many girls skip school when on their period due to the lack of facilities.

The animation was created in collaboration with BAFTA-winning animation studio Second Homes Studios, and the music is a track by US-based Nepali musician Ankit Shrestha. It is called Eutai Aakash, meaning One Sky.

Tadg O’Keeffe, film producer at WaterAid, said, “A third of schools are without clean water and sanitation facilities, affecting the opportunities of millions of people. The issue is especially acute for girls, with many skipping school during their period if there are no decent toilets, while women and girls collect water in four out of five households, often keeping them from getting an education or earning a living.

“By basing the film on Pabina, we were able to create a thought-provoking film that brought to life the issues faced by so many girls around the world. With access to clean water, toilets and soap in schools, barriers can be taken down to ensure girls can complete their education and build a better future for themselves and their families.”

Pabina, 14, reading aloud in class at Shree Lekhnath School in Lahan, Nepal. Image: WaterAid/ Sailendra Kharel

WaterAid’s appeal will help construct new, sustainable school water systems, decent toilets, and drinking water stations with handwashing facilities, enabling children to easily wash, drink and go to the toilet without missing lessons. Provision will be made for girls to manage their periods safely and hygienically, so they no longer worry about missing out on their education or fetching water.