We chose our nonprofit partner for this season for several reasons. charity: water was the first nonprofit that I became heavily involved with. In 2010, I was shown a three minute video about how almost one billion people living on our planet did not have something that they needed - clean water. The problem consumed me. Just about every year since 2010 I made it my mission to help make a dent in the number of people who are living without this basic necessity. So, when thinking of the nonprofit that Change Co. should donate to, charity: water was one at the top of the list.
charity: water was started back in 2009 by Scott Harrison, who was a former club promoter in NYC. He gave up his club days and spent some time traveling and serving others. Once he learned of and saw the women and children who were walking hours everyday for dirty, parasite infested water, he knew he had to do something. So, he started with his birthday party. He was turning 31 at the time and asked his friends to bring $20 instead of gifts to his party. Hundreds of people attended (he was a pretty popular guy!) and the money from that night funded six clean water wells inside of a refugee camp in Uganda. charity: water was then born and has snowballed around the world ever since. Since 2009, charity: water has funded 22,936 water projects which have brought clean drinking water to 7 million people around the world.
Never heard of the water crisis? I hadn’t either! I learned that to this date, more than 660 million people are living without access to clean drinking water. That is nearly 1 in 10 people world wide! Every day, people like you and me are spending hours walking to ponds and riverbeds for water to cook with, clean with, and bathe their children in. The problem is that this water dirty and is often filled with parasites that will make their families sick. In fact, dirty water kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. 43% of those deaths are children under five years old.
Access to clean drinking water is crucial for a community to thrive. In Africa, women are responsible for 72% of collecting the water, and spend 40 billion (yes, billion) hours a year walking for the resource that will dismantle their families. Clean water means that these women have time to earn an income for their family, go to school, and grow food. Clean water also means keeping kids in school, and teenage girls can spend more time in the classroom instead of staying home a week every month. Water changes everything.
Thankfully, there is a solution to this crisis. charity: water works with community members and local experts to find the best sustainable solution in every community they work in. This may be digging a well, installing a piped system or a BioSand filter, or creating a system to harvest the rainwater. In addition to finding a solution that suits each unique area, their partners give sanitation and hygiene training and create a Water Committee in the community to keep the clean water available for years. For every $1 that is invested into these solutions to the water crisis, $4-$12 is put back into the economy. The craziest thing we can do is nothing.
We are thrilled to have partnered with charity: water this quarter and are committed to giving 10% of our profits to helping our fellow humans thrive. This summer, while you’re swimming in the pool and cooling down with your ice water, know that your Change Co. box has helped to make a splash and give others around the world the gift of clean water.
To learn more about charity: water click here.
Photo/information credits: www.charitywater.org