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  • Anila Anjum attributes her ability to pursue higher education in Karachi to the work of the AKDN Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) in her hometown in Gilgit-Pakistan.
    AKU / Akber Moeen
Anila Anjum: From water fetching to higher education

Anila Anjum is a student studying Health Policies and Management Systems at the Aga Khan University in Karachi. Anila grew up in the rugged mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan, where she saw many women like her mother, starting from a young age, spending more than half their lives “walking miles on end” – trekking back and forth through dangerous paths and harsh weather conditions – to fetch clean water for their homes and families. This chore left them no time to complete a proper education.

The AKDN Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) provides clean drinking water to 500,000 people and has given safer sanitation to 600 villages in Pakistan. In Gilgit-Baltistan, where the AKDN has been working with communities to help improve their quality of life for over 30 years, the percentage of the population with access to safe water has risen from 5% in 1986 to 72% in 2014.

Today, Anila is able to fulfil her mother’s dream of getting an education: “Without WASEP, I probably would have also been fetching water today.” She tells her story in this video “Water for Life…”