Over the last seven years since my eyes were opened to this crisis, I have done little things here and there to donate to organizations who provide clean water to different parts of the world. I have even become greatly infatuated by one particular organization who's sole purpose is to provide clean water to people. But I have never done anything big. Nothing to make a huge impact. So as 2013 began and I as was thinking about what I wanted to do with this year, I decided I wanted to do something to make a larger impact in the water crisis.
So I have decided to donate my birthday to bring people clean water. What does this mean you ask? Well, this year I am turning 34 years old on November 5th. And instead of presents I am asking that YOU give $34 (or whatever amount you are able to give) to help people have clean water. Now I know not all of you would normally buy me a birthday present. But for 2013 I'm asking that you would reconsider and give me the most incredible birthday present I've ever received! Just $34 can change someone's life! Just $34 can SAVE someone's life!!
Although I am extremely passionate about this cause, I understand that you may not be and you may have some questions. I'm going to attempt to answer some questions you may have. If there are any others you think of as you are considering whether or not to give, or how much to give I welcome them and will do my best to answer them!
•What is the water crisis?
-Over 800 million people in the world don't have access to clean water.
-Diseases from unsafe water (dysentery, diarrhea etc) and lack of sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
-Many women and children walk 3 or more hours a day to get water they will drink, use to cook and to bathe with. Usually this water is contaminated with all sorts of bacteria and diseases. The time it takes to get this dirty water keeps these women and children out of schools and prevents them from earning an income in their communities.
•What are you going to do with the money you raise?
Up until two weeks ago, I had planned all year to go through the organization I mentioned above that has almost consumed my focus on clean water for several years now. However, I recently learned of an orphanage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) called the Elikia Orphanage. Elikia is in the Eastern DRC where there is a huge and violent war taking place. In this orphanage there is no clean water and there is not even enough food to feed the children who are there.
The children are split into two groups and they alternate days they get to eat. While one group eats, the other sits on the floor and watches. And the next day they switch places. This continues day after day.
Three weeks ago at Elikia there were 52 children who lived there. Of those 52, 31 of them died from an outbreak of dysentery. A totally preventable illness. Thirty-one children died...some of them waiting to be adopted by loving families across the world...because they were drinking dirty water. And there are plenty of other orphanages like this in the DRC. Because of the war going on Elikia will fill back up quickly, with more and more children being exposed to the lack of healthy, sustainable water.
It will cost $2000 to bring the children of Elikia clean water via a sand filtration system. The soil in the DRC is too hard for a well. To build a well in the DRC you would have to dig over 300 feet down, whereas in other places where wells are commonly used you would just have to dig 30-60 feet down. So the cost of a well is just too much. The sand filtration systems are becoming more widely used to bring people clean water and will usually last 15-20 years.
Elikia in Lingala, which is the language of the DR,C means HOPE. I want to bring HOPE to the children of Elikia. You may think...well it's just water, how is that HOPE? But water brings them HOPE of living. HOPE of going to school. HOPE of maybe being adopted by a family who will love them and care for them. HOPE of growing up to make a difference in the world. Water makes a huge difference in the lives of people in developing countries like the DRC. It really is the difference between life and death.
How do I give? You can send a tax deductible gift to City Church of Chattanooga.In the memo line please put "DRC Project." You will receive a statement at the end of the year to use for tax purposes.
Please mail checks and donations to:
City Church of Chattanooga
7122 Lee Highway
Chattanooga, TN 37421
**Please remember to put "DRC Project" in the memo line of your check.
You can also give online at http://www.thecitychurch.cc. Click on "online giving" and choose to give under the "DRC Project."