Posts Tagged ‘clean water’

Save the Rain

It’s a gray, rainy, drippy day here in the Northeast. The sound of water hitting the leaves is everywhere around me. How blessed am I that each drop that falls on the lawn already losing its green hue from summer is not a drop I need to survive?

Save the Rain is a charity dedicated to teaching water-starved communities around the world how to build rainwater catchment systems that will provide sustainable and safe drinking water–a luxury not known by billions of people right now. When the water issue is handled in a life, so much more falls into place. Nutritious food, even if scarce, serves the body better. Education is increased and learning capacity grows. Disease rates fall dramatically. Just the hours spent by women and children each day to walk, often miles, to a muddy, perhaps contaminated, dirty watering hole for filthy water we’d shudder to use to water our houseplants, are hours that can be reclaimed for education and work and making the family healthier and happier. When water is available, so much more opens up. Can you support making sure everyone has enough? The cost is small, and the return is unfathomable.

Summit on the Summit

We were just talking about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro at my house last night–a dream plan that is still on my list of things to do. It’s no wonder, then, that this project makes me jealous, but also inspired.

A group of young celebrities, including Emile Hirsch, Jessica Biel, Elizabeth Gore, Alexandra Cousteau, Lupe Fiasco, Kenna, and more, climbed Kili early in January to raise funds and awareness for safe drinking water programs around the world. The website for Summit on the Summit has about a zillion bells and whistles, but allowed us to follow along with each day’s progress up to the 19,340-foot top of the mountain. Video and blog posts recorded the upward progress, and numerous interactive portals gave information about the global water crisis. The climb is over, but the site is still active, and a great way to dig into a deeper knowledge about saving lives with clean water.

Over one billion people do not have daily access to clean, safe drinking water, and without water, not other aspect of life can be optimal (and survival itself cannot last long).

A documentary film of the climb comes out March 14, broadcast on MTV. Until then, explore the site, donate some dollars to clean water, and, perhaps most importantly, think of creative ways to use the major undertakings in your life to support the things you care about. Running a 5K race? Even if it isn’t a charitable event, you can still ask friends to sponsor you with a dollar amount for each kilometer, then donate it to your charity of choice. Losing weight? What if family and friends sponsor your health goals AND your charity by donating an amount for every pound you drop? Wouldn’t it be inspiring if you used the opportunity to make a difference in your own world to also make a difference for everyone?

Journeys Within Our Community

Village communities in Southeast Asia get nurturing help from within and with the assistance of international volunteers via short breaks (a week or so) or longer stints for service (month or more) from Journeys Within Our Community. By working at the local level and focusing on community-determined needs like clean water, education, health, shelter, and emergency relief, JWOC starts projects small that then grow with outside support, gaining momentum and changing lives.

Work projects are in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma). Over the last five years of work, there are now over 70 students in those three nations going to university thanks to the JWOC Scholarship Program. There are three JWOC Free Schools in Cambodia and Laos that operate six days a week.  There are over 300 wells offering clean water to villagers in the Siem Reap area and in Laos local children now have the resources they need thanks to the JWOC Village School Sponsorship. JWOC has also given out over 200 micro loans to families living below the poverty line.

Volunteers work with specialized programs based on the skills you bring (and your skills need be no more elaborate than a willingness to work…but if you have teaching experience or carpentry skills or medical training, let them know when you sign up), and a nice element of the management of this grassroots organization is that long-term projects are re-evaluated regularly, and monthly priorities are established in response to the shifting terrain of change. This responsiveness is hugely important and surprisingly rare among NGOs.

JWOC was founded under the ideal of See a Problem, Solve a Problem…words to live by.

3 for 5

dropletJust a drop in the bucket—that’s all you need to be—and it makes a difference.

20 million drops creates a wave of change.

The 3 for 5 foundation is making it easy to help save millions of lives—many of them children. Every 21 seconds, a child in the developing world dies from a disease associated with dirty water—that’s 1.5 million preventable deaths each year. The foundation’s plan is straightforward. You donate just $5, then commit to discussing water issues with three friends, asking them to do the same…donate five and invite three of their friends. The goal is to unite 20 million of us and raise 100 million dollars. The website gives you all sorts of ways to better understand this basic problem and ways to talk about it with others—no PhD required, just a desire to share. Share opportunities to help.

Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene are within our grasp—we just need to recognize how simple it is to make a difference that truly will save lives and change the day-to-day existence of community after community.

It takes almost nothing for you to really make a splash.