Walking down the dirt path, hot, tired, and carrying an empty diesel jug you struggle. Finally you arrive at the water source a pool of water surrounded by animals and people alike looking to rehydrate and cool down. You wait in line to fill up your jug with the brownish green water so that you can take it home to your family. This is your drinking water, your life water. If it makes you sick or your family members sick, then that’s one less able body(s) to supplement your income. Yet you take the gamble and you carry this heavy jug back to the family home to be consumed.
Can you relate to this? Probably not, but this is how almost 700 million people live each day (JMP Report on Drinking Water 2011). This means that 1 in 8 people lack access to clean drinking water worldwide. Without clean drinking water there is an extreme susceptibility to disease, dehydration, and possibly even death. A lack of clean water also has economic impacts. These impacts are not limited to water born illness, but also to the amount of time spent getting to water sources.
Last semester in my brand and account management class I was introduced to John and Jagger Koerner with the 52 Kids Foundation (http://52kids.org) based out of Charlotte, Vermont. The focus of their organization is to fund the education of kids in Kamuli, Uganda. For our class however, they wanted to brand and implement a fundraising campaign to raise money and awareness for clean water. Why water? The students who they have been aiding in receiving an education need cleaner water and better access to water. If they get sick or go to fetch water then that is valuable time spent away from their education. So John wants to get Kamuli better access to clean drinking water, but he also hopes to one day be able to help other places too.
At first this was just another class assignment to be carried out for a grade, but for me it turned into much more, a passion. Currently I am working with several Champlain and Middlebury College students to fundraise upwards of $7,500 for a well in Kamuli, Uganda through the 52 Kids Foundation. Additionally we would like to raise funds to clean up local water sources, like Lake Champlain. This initiative has turned into what is now known as Waiting on Water. Combined students, faculty, and the surrounding community will be invited to, and hopefully participate in this movement. The idea behind the movement being that humankind cannot simply wait for clean water to happen, and that no one should have to wait for clean water because it is a basic human need.
It is my dream that we will reach our fundraising goals, build this well, build many more wells, and inspire younger generations to care about cleaner water. A common nature lover’s saying is, “Leave it better than you found it.” I would like us to leave this world better than we found it, and especially the resource that makes up most of our bodies and the earth’s surface. Water.
Waiting on Water? Don’t wait, donate.
Even if your donation is simply caring more today than you did yesterday, then you are taking a step in the right direction. So stay tuned for events, details, updates, and ways to donate your time or money.