Picture: Rachel Stevens The GREAT Initiative - party, held at the Corinthia Hotel - Arrivals. London, England - 06.11.12
British pop star Rachel Stevens was left heartbroken on a recent charity trip to Ethiopia after witnessing a young mum's struggle to provide clean water for her family.
The former S Club 7 singer, who is mother to two-year-old Amelie, has signed on as an ambassador for the WaterAid organisation, and she travelled to the African country to see how locals are helped by the scheme but was left stunned when she saw the conditions many live in.
Recalling one heartbreaking experience of meeting a young mother-of-eight, Stevens tells Britain's Hello! magazine, "When I walked into Ajame's home and saw the desperation in her eyes as she was hugging her children, it really upset me.
"I'd been missing Amelie and had been watching videos on my phone of her dancing and singing to cheer me up. Ajame's twins were about the same age, but they looked so sad. It broke my heart that they'd never have a real childhood.
"She showed me where she spends hours going to collect water; not only was it back-breaking work to carry the cans home, but cows were drinking from the same stream and contaminating the water. She knows it is bad for her and her children to drink and she's terrified of dying like her husband and leaving them alone, but until aid comes, like in any other village, she doesn't have any choice.
"This is where donations to WaterAid are desperately needed - to help families like Ajame's."
Stevens admits seeing the positive effect WaterAid's projects have on families has made her determined to continue working with the organisation, adding, "It was such a great feeling to see the women laughing and chatting while they were washing their clothes and drinking clean water. Everyone looked healthier and a lot happier and the village felt full of life."