This International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples we want to celebrate some of the indigenous communities where we work.

Meet Artipa. She’s a community leader in Patamana, an indigenous Wayuu community in the Guajira region deep in the Colombian desert. And it’s a community which now has clean water thanks to Artipa’s hard work and WaterAid’s generous supporters.

“I am in charge of this territory here and these lands. It’s hereditary, my father before me was also the community leader.

We used to travel far to a jaguey (traditional open water source) to collect water. It was extremely far, really really far! It was really horrible, the animals would suffer and sometimes die without water.

Artipa with friends and relatives near the flexible water tank.

When they put this project here I can’t even explain how happy I was… During the process I followed them everywhere, I made sure I was always with them every step of the way… I was part of the process from beginning to end.

People came and celebrated, and we were all so happy. Our neighbours often come by and tell us how lucky we are. We care about this project so much we built a fence around the flexible water tank (like a large rubber balloon that stores water for the dry periods) to protect it. I use the water for everything now, to cook, to wash, to drink. There are too many benefits to list!”

#weareindigenous @UN4Indigenous