Children from a school in Sunderland have had the opportunity to find out what it′s like to live without a supply of clean water.

The pupils from Castle View Enterprise Academy, put their questions to Northumbrian Water, who had a special visit from photographer Ernest Randriarimalala this week, ahead of World Water Day (22 March).


Ernest, who works for Northumbrian Water′s charity partner, WaterAid, as one of their "voices from the field" officers in Madagascar, documents the lives of those affected by a lack of clean water.


He visited the water company′s Durham head office to speak to supporters and employees there about the difference their fundraising efforts are making to improve water and hygiene in Ernest′s home country.


Around 4,000 children die every year in Madagascar from diarrhoea caused by dirty water and in 2015, Northumbrian Water pledged to concentrate its fundraising efforts on the country, with the aim of raising £1million by 2020.


The Sunderland students, aged between 12 and 13, sent in their questions for the water company to film with Ernest, so they could hear first-hand what it was like for him growing up without clean running water.


Some of their questions included ‘How did you get washed?′, ‘Did you brush your teeth with dirty water?′ and ‘What did you drink on a hot day?′


Ernest explained how he had to fetch water for his family every day, before and after school, from the nearest water point which was a 45 minute walk away, and regularly got ill from drinking the dirty water.


Northumbrian Water′s WaterAid fundraising committee chairman, Andrew Blakemore, said: "It was amazing to have Ernest with us for the day, to hear his stories, ask him the children′s questions and remind us all why we raise money for WaterAid.


"We encourage our own school children to stay healthy and hydrated when working hard in the classroom, but for Ernest, it was the norm to go for five or six hours without water when he was in school.


"I′m proud that we′re continuing to raise money for WaterAid projects in Madagascar, helping communities and transforming lives."


To find out more about Northumbrian Water′s fundraising efforts for WaterAid, email


Look out for the video which will posted on our social media channels @NorthumbrianH20 or search for Northumbrian Water on Facebook.