Imagine if you had to walk for miles to bring home dirty water to survive. FIGHT DIRTY and help people who do not have access to clean, safe water.
What if your nearest source of water was a mile or two away and you had to walk there daily to fill a container with water? And what if that water, so critical for your family to survive, was dirty and filled with health risks? Today, we’re sharing how you and your family can FIGHT DIRTY and help make life easier for people like this around the world who do not have access to clean, safe water.
On Saturday, May 16, Kent, the boys and I participated with a team of friends in the annual Walk for Water in Grand Rapids, Michigan to raise support and awareness for 20 Liters, an organization that provides water filtration technology for homes, schools and health clinics in Rwanda. I shared about Team H2GO and our Walk for Water fundraising efforts a few weeks ago and wanted to follow-up today to thank our supporters, to let you know how it went and to encourage you to get involved with this meaningful endeavor.
Walk for Water 2015
This year’s Walk for Water was a tremendous success. Early in the day, we worried rain might deter people from showing up for the event, but by the time it started at 11 AM, the sun was out and it was getting a little muggy. Hundreds of people came for this year’s event to FIGHT DIRTY and support this worthwhile cause.
The Walk for Water simulates the plight of over 800 million people around the world who don’t have access to clean water. Many of them must walk for miles daily to collect dirty water from sources such as ponds, streams and lakes. 20 Liters provides simple, effective filters and rain water harvesting systems to help people in Rwanda convert the dirty water they collect into safe, usable drinking water.
For this year’s Walk for Water, Team H2GO decided to increase our fundraising goal to $2,516.15 by 5/16/15. We specifically set our sights on raising enough money to buy a SAM2 water filter for a village in Rwanda.
“SAM 2’s are larger higher-capacity models, making them a perfect fit for schools and health clinics requiring higher usage. With a cost of $2,000 per unit (which includes material costs, training, and ongoing follow-up and maintenance), SAM 2’s are able to provide clean water for 400 people for 10 years.
The sand in the (SAM 2) filter does two things: it strains out the larger particles like sediment, parasites, and amoebas, while also acting as a home for bacteria. When the sand is fully colonized by bacteria, which happens after about three weeks, the colonized bacteria are capable of destroying 90 to 95% of the bacteria in the water poured through it.
A SAM 2 requires no electricity to function, making it ideal for rural areas that lack electricity. Each school and clinic is taught how to use the filter, empowering them to be self-sufficient and address their own needs.”
Thanks to the generous support of friends, family and loyal Kenarry readers, we not only reached our goal this year, but we exceeded it. Collectively Team H2GO raised $3,505 for 20 Liters.
The Walk for Water not only gives us the opportunity to talk about the important work of 20 Liters publicly, but it also gives us a tangible opportunity to share this experience with our children. Most of the kids on Team H2GO are under the age of five, but they’re learning what it’s like to be part of a team working together to reach a common goal. They’re also getting a first hand experience of what it’s like for people around the world who can’t go to the faucet to get clean water.
The Walk for Water involves a 1.5 mile walk along the banks of the Grand River. Each person starts off carrying empty 2-Liter pop bottles, milk jugs and other containers.
Those who can are encouraged to carry a large 20 Liter jerry can like someone in Rwanda would use. Each jerry can contains 44 lbs of water. Let’s just say lugging a full jerry can for 1.5 miles is not for the faint of heart (especially when you make the water carrier pause to smile for a photo!).
About half way along the route, everyone stops along the edge of the river to fill the empty containers they’ve been carrying.
Seeing the look on a child’s face as he witnesses people filling containers with dirty water from the river is priceless. Our son immediately wrinkled his nose with disgust, “You mean people have to drink THAT?” I can’t think of any better way to help him understand the reality for so many people around the world.
Along the route, there are opportunities to weigh the water you’ve been carrying. There are also numerous signs stating facts and figures related to the cause as well as photos of people carrying water in Rwanda. It builds solidarity and awareness about why we’re walking for water.
This year, 20 Liters also had an i-spy type game the kids could play along the route. They gave out small golf pencils and cards with pictures and words on them. Kids were supposed to keep their eyes open along the walk to try to find as many of the things on the game as they could.
Once you cross the finish line, the opportunities to learn continued. Many of the activities were the same as last year, including sifting sand to use in the water filtration systems, practicing lugging water up hill with a bike, and actually running the water we just carried through one of the filters like someone in Rwanda would use.
Afterwards, people were encouraged to stick around to enjoy a picnic lunch that they either brought with them or could buy from a food vendor around the park. They also had music as well as a kids carnival area to raise additional money for 20 Liters. All-in-all, it was a fun, eye-opening experience for our family and a great way to work as a team to support a very worthwhile cause.
How You Can Make a Difference
1. Donate to 20 Liters. Though Team H2GO’s fundraising campaign is over, 20 Liters needs support year-round. I would encourage you and your family to consider a generous donation to help this organization work with families to have the clean water they need for day-to-day survival. A donation of $20 creates access to clean water for one person for up to 10 years. You can give online now.
3. Tell your friends. Share this post with your friends on Facebook and Pinterest to let them know they can FIGHT DIRTY too: