What if you had to walk for miles every day just to get water? Creating access to clean water is a life or death issue for many. Help us make a difference.
Most of us take clean water for granted. We can easily walk over to our sinks and turn on the faucet to get clean water whenever we want. Nearly 800 million people in the world do not have this luxury. To get water, they need to walk to a pond, stream, well or another source. This walk can often take hours in hot temperatures. They go through all this effort just to gather dirty water in a large container to lug all the way back home. Perhaps you’ve seen the photos of mothers who have children strapped to them carrying large pots of water on their heads? Imagine if you had to do this walk daily just to survive.
On May 17, the 8th annual Walk for Water will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Walk for Water simulates the experience of people who do not have access to clean water. Participants raise awareness by walking together and raising money to support 20 Liters. 20 Liters is a nonprofit organization focused on creating access to clean water through water filters and rainwater harvest systems.
Why Creating Access to Clean Water Matters
Last year, our family joined with three others to raise money as a team during the Walk for Water. We call ourselves “Team H2GO” and are excited to participate in the Walk for Water again this year.
Creating access to clean water is an issue close to our hearts. Team H2GO includes eight adults and eight children. Most of our children are three years of age and under. We cannot even fathom what it would be like to raise them without access to clean water. Facts like these break our hearts (Source: 20 Liters):
- Dirty water kills more people than all forms of violence including war.
- Diarrhea kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
- Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
- Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea.
- Almost one-tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. Such improvements reduce child mortality and improve health and nutritional status in a sustainable way.
- 88% of cases of diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.
- 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries.
This is unacceptable. Our children may be too young to comprehend facts like these. They don’t really need to know yet how devastating this issue is for many kids like them around the world who do not have access to clean water. Yet through the Walk for Water, our young children are developing empathy and learning many valuable life lessons:
- Our children are learning that not everyone has a faucet in their home where they can get clean water whenever they want.
- During the Walk for Water, our families have a tangible hands-on experience of walking alongside others to fill containers of dirty water. We can physically feel how heavy it is to carry water.
- When we get back to the starting point of the Walk for Water, we have the opportunity to filter the dirty water we’ve collected. We can even taste the water after it’s been filtered.
- Our children are learning to be team players. They can feel and see what it’s like to be part of something bigger than themselves.
This video is a few years old, but it will give you a better idea of what the Walk for Water is like:
How You Can Help Team H2GO Make a Difference
1. Participate in the Walk for Water. If you live in West Michigan, join us on Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 11am–12:15pm at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, 220 Front Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504. Learn more about the Walk for Water and register online.
2. Financially support Team H2GO. It’s our goal to raise $1,517 by 5/17 for 20 Liters. Please consider giving a financial donation to support our team. A donation of $20 creates access to clean water for one person for up to 10 years. Visit our fundraising page to make a tax-deductible donation online or contact us, if you’d prefer to send a check.
3. Organize your own Walk for Water. Don’t live in West Michigan? No problem. 20 Liters has resources to help you organize a Walk for Water in your own community. Visit the 20 Liters website for more information.