Mairamu's Story

The importance of clean water for families at Minawao Camp


33-year-old Maïramu lives in Minawao Camp with her seven children.

Originally from Konduga in Nigeria, Maïramu became displaced after her village was attacked by members of Boko Haram. Like many other refugees, she lost everything she owned during the attack, arriving in Minawao empty-handed.

Her life at Minawao Camp is completely different to the life she had at home. She copes with the loss because the safety of herself and her children is more important than anything else.

“It is an experience that I would not wish on anybody. It was like a horror film which makes me cry every time I think about it. One day you have everything, the next you lose everything within a few minutes.”


Like many refugees, the most difficult situation that Maïramu faces daily is that of access to water.

“If I had a tap today, I would sleep better”, she said. She and her children must travel long distances to access water. The family must get up very early and travel a long way, and due to the number of people that are trying to get water it can take all day just to get 30 litres. This only lasts the family a short time.

But the distance is not the only issue. Drinking dirty, contaminated water caused the family to get sick. Mairamu tried to filter the water using fabric but there was no change and the family continued to suffer with the same symptoms.

We started to get sick. After a while, I noticed that my children and I were having frequent stomach aches. I realized it was caused by the water.


After receiving a ShelterBox water filter, Maïramu cannot contain her joy at the impact it has had on her family.

She and her eldest daughter filter the water for the rest of the family, and they no longer suffer with sickness. Their trek to get water is still long but they can drink water without fear of sickness or disease.

“This filter has become our doctor. It puts an end to the problem of sickness that we had after drinking water.”

Maïramu said she is overwhelmed, her family too. If accessing water continues to be difficult, she feels more secure knowing she now has the water filter.

This is your support in action. Thank you for helping ensure families are provided with clean drinking water after disasters and conflict around the world.

Today, we drink water without fear. Even though the distance is the same with all the difficulties that we have when fetching water, we are now spared from sickness. I use the filter without difficulty as it’s very simple to use. The only thing we can say is thank you very much ShelterBox.

John's Story

In April 2020, Cyclone Harold made landfall in Vanuatu as a Category 5 cyclone, bringing devastation to communities in the north. Harold destroyed thousands of houses, damaged food crops, and caused widespread power outages.