Menu Close

Mildred’s Story – Rolling Out the Barrel



We are sharing a story submitted by Adrian in the UK.  Often women spend money on makeup, getting their hair done, buying new clothes, etc.  Many of us complain about things that pale in comparison to the plight of others.  Adrian shared Mildred’s story with us.   

Submitted by Adrian at ROTB.


Mildred Nkhata from Chitambo, Zambia is an amazing person. She became totally blind after an illness struck her at the age of two.  She is a single mom and has 2 children, Rainford, 4 and Luwa, 7.  They live in a small 2-room house, the size of a tool shed.  Mildred cooks with fire and has to do so outdoors to avoid a smoke-filled house.

Twice a day Mildred would take her large basin and collect 40 liters of water from the new village pump 500 meters away.  Her daughter Luwa would collect another 20 liters. Their daily travels equaled miles and hours along a dirty and uneven path.

Mildred cares for her children the best she can, feeds them with what she has.  Mildred was fortunate and was sponsored to help her obtain a teaching diploma.  She currently works voluntarily in Mfuwe Basic School.  Though she has a non paying job, she gets a very small allowance from friends (£40 per month).  She hopes that her efforts will encourage the government to employ her at the school, earning as much a £80 a month.

The organization Roll Out the Barrel, is in Africa providing as many women as possible with barrels to help them collect life giving water.  When the Rotary Club of Mfuwe presented Mildred with a Rotary barrel from Roll Out the Barrel and Rotarians in UK, she was overcome, squeezing the hand of Rotarian Anna in appreciation.  Her children loved it, played with it, filled it and rolled it. Local children joined in with the filling, the pushing the pulling!

Instead of maybe half hour per journey it is now down to 10 minutes. No longer will Mildred have the challenge of collecting water, as Luwa and even her 4 year old brother can collect the water from the pump within minutes. They can do three, four, five even six journeys with no problem, in fact it is FUN!!
The organization is responsible for providing women like Mildred and their families with rolling barrels that they can collect and transport their water with.