Finn, nine, and Darcey, eight, from the Wimbledon area have helped WaterAid and the Wimbledon Foundation to create a giant tennis ball mosaic near No. 1 Court, to highlight the importance of clean water. The beautiful artwork of a young boy enjoying clean water comes with an important message: more than 11,000 children’s lives could be saved during the Championships if everyone everywhere had access to clean water and toilets.
Finn, from Raynes Park and Darcey, from Wimbledon Chase, are part of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative. They helped to put the final 100 balls into place, completing the task started by artists from Sand in Your Eye who took 12 hours to create the tennis-court-sized portrait near No.1 Court. The impressive mosaic showed 10-year-old Tefy from Antsakambahiny village in Madagascar who, with the help of WaterAid and partners including the Wimbledon Foundation, now has clean water at school and near his home.
Across the world, a staggering 771 million people – one in 10 – are living without clean water close to home and 1.7 billion people – one in five – do not have a decent toilet. Furthermore, over half of healthcare facilities in the least developed countries have no clean water on site.
Without access to these basic facilities, the lives of and children are needlessly put at risk, with around 800 children under five dying every day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. Many more are frequently ill or forced to spend hours out of school collecting water, compromising their education.
Tefy’s life has been transformed with clean water. He said:
“We no longer fetch water down the hill anymore since we have taps in our school. The water here is very clean and fresh. We can open the taps and drink water whenever we want. We can wash our hands at any time and even bathe here if we want.
“Every afternoon, after doing my homework, I always come near the school to play with my friends. We play football or hide and seek. I love being at school studying and being with my friends.”
Darcey, 8, said:
“Every child deserves clean water and taps, and it is so sad that so many miss school because they don’t have it. I am happy that Tefy now has clean water and can go to school and play with his friends.”
Finn, 9, said:
“I can’t imagine not having clean water. I love the mosaic and I think the work that WaterAid does to help children is really good.”
Paige Murphy, Head 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 clean water and decent toilets – things that so many of us take for granted. It is humbling to think 11,000 children’s lives could be saved during The Championships if they had access to these essentials.
“That is why the Wimbledon Foundation and WaterAid are uniting to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a normal part of daily life for communities across the world. These vital services help relieve the burden on people’s time and energy and create new opportunities for education, paid work and raising a healthy family.”
The Wimbledon Foundation 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 healthcare centres and communities across Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi and Myanmar. A donation of £1.2 million over three years will transform people’s health, keep children in school, and allow women and girls to unlock their potential.
The tennis balls for the mosaic were gifted by Slazenger, Official Ball of The Championships, and will be donated on to charities supported by the Wimbledon Foundation such as Rackets Cubed, a charity which delivers integrated racket sports, education and nutrition programmes to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged young children.