Now, you can follow the rig’s day-to-day progress and check its location via Twitter.
A Glimmer of Hope
TOMS is celebrating One Day Without Shoes.
So… take ‘em off!
Today, our friends at TOMS asked everyone they knew to kick off their heels or sneakers to help spread awareness about millions of children who live without proper footwear every day. We’ve always supported TOMS’ work, and today is no different.
charity: water + TOMS.
Remember when we launched our first-edition water project shoe with TOMS in spring of 2010? $5 from every sale of shoes went to fund a water project in Ethiopia. We sold out in weeks and raised enough money to fund an entire well for a community in rural Ethiopia called Sekura.
Late last year, the charity: water team visited Sekura Village… see the impact of your shoe purchase:
Learn more about our partnership with TOMS here >
In September 2011, we asked you to help fund charity: water’s first drilling rig to bring clean water to 40,000 new people every year in rural Ethiopia. More than 1,400 mycharity: water fundraisers and donors answered in a big way, raising more than $1.2 million for a brand new drilling rig fleet.
By now, you probably know we’re big on showing impact. From proving every completed water project with photos and GPS to sharing stories from people you’ve helped get clean water to drink — we want you to see how you’ve changed lives.
And today… we have exciting news! We were expecting to drill the first well with the new rig in May of this year. But Founder Scott Harrison was just in Ethiopia and… the first drilling rig arrived early!
Take a look at how your support is already helping bring life’s most basic need to people in Ethiopia:
We’re so grateful for your support of our work, our partners’ work, and our mission to end the water crisis. Thank you, September Campaign supporters! And stay tuned: as promised, we’re getting the GPS device set up in this rig soon so you can track its progress from village to village.
Learn more about September Campaign 2011 here >
Today is International Women’s Day. We’re taking a minute to celebrate some of the women of this past year — specifically, some amazing daughters, mothers and grandmothers we met in November 2011 while traveling in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.
Almost a billion people in the world live without clean water. We call that the water crisis. And while we know many of these are men, the water crisis takes a significant toll on women of the world. Women are twice as likely as men to collect water for their families each day. Many in Sub-Saharan Africa walk up to four hours each day to get water that’s likely to make them sick when they get it home to drink.
Today, we hope you join us in recognizing the women of this world who bear this burden, who get up early or stay out dangerously late, who haul forty pounds of water weight in a Jerry can strapped to their backs… who strive for and hope for their children’s health, who put their families first. We’re lucky enough to have met some when we travel to the field. Their stories continue to shock us, inspire us and keep us working to bring clean water to every person on the planet.
Women we met in Baskura, Ethiopia, in November:
Stories of amazing women and girls in the past year:
- Mintamir from rural Ethiopia: She used to wish for clean water to wash each day like the city girls… her wish came true. “I am just like them now.”
- Poppy from Bangladesh: Not much is clean or accessible for the disabled in Pora Bosti slum… but Poppy’s new toilets are.
- Whitney from the U.S.: She ran coast-to-coast to raise funds and awareness for clean water.
Have more stories to share about amazing women? Leave us a comment with a link or a personal story. Happy Women’s Day!
I arrive in Ethiopia’s Amhara region after rainy season has just swept through. The fields are lush smears of gold and emerald. Every piece of land seems to be covered in a crop. In vast acres of teff, maize, sorghum and corn, specks of white scarves appear and submerge again — the farmers bent over their crops, harvesting their livelihood.
From what I picked up in conversations from the fields to the villages, farmers in Amhara make a pretty decent wage.
But country life isn’t easy.
Those who aren’t in the fields — usually kids and moms — spend most of their day preparing food, collecting firewood, herding animals and taking care of other chores necessary to keep their families healthy.
Mintamir, 18 years old, is one of them. Like a lot of the farm kids from my hometown in rural Michigan, she’s been handling chores since she was old enough to walk. When these chores were taken care of, only then would she get to school.
But unlike most farm kids in the U.S., of all her responsibilities, the most time-consuming and physically difficult was collecting water. She’d spend much of her morning walking to an open pond, then hauling her Jerry can home to her house. Her family would make the most of just a pair of these five-gallon containers of water each day. That meant only enough water to bathe (at most) once a week and wash clothes every two weeks.
“We didn’t even wash our faces or care for our personal hygiene,” she tells me. “We were ashamed of our body odor. But also, we’d get sick and then we didn’t focus on school. We’d be tired and sleepy.”
Mintamir has met kids from another life; the city. Her school was a mix of country and town folks. As she learned about their lives — more available water, no cattle to watch over, no crops to tend — she grew anxious. These other kids had time. School was their main focus. What if she fell behind? What if her chores, her illnesses, her waning self-confidence, set her back?
“We are country girls,” she says. “Because we were born here, we’d have to care for animals and the farm and also have to fetch water. We’d be late to school.”
Mintamir pushed through. She’d get up early, she’d stay late, she’d do whatever she had to in order to finish her education. But she’s the exception, not the rule. Our partners tell us that many kids in this area miss school to collect water; the dropout rate for girls is especially high.
Such is the way of country living, many believe. Girls like Mintamir accept that this comes with growing up in a farming family. But they also know that one of their most demanding chores could be relieved completely if they had a clean water source nearby.
“The society is changing here. Now, our time has become like… a computer! Efficient. It’s very different.”
So do we. In 2010, our local partners A Glimmer of Hope and ORDA (Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara) built a charity: water well right in the middle of Mintamir’s village.
She explains that families can now accomplish more each day. Kids can finish collecting water before school and buckle down on their studies instead of juggling multiple trips for more water later in the day. They can come to class clean and ready.
“The society is changing here. Now, we’re using our time efficiently,” she laughs. “Our time now has become like… a computer! Efficient. It’s very different, very different.”
And with clean water so close, she says families have doubled the amount of water they can use each day. People bathe regularly and wash their clothes every week.
Like the city people, she says.
“Now we are the same! We drink well water, too, and feel clean,” she says, speaking for the younger kids around her who are still in school. “When the bell rings, we attend class at the same time.”
“I am just like them now.”
Mintamir has plans to move from her small village of Minchit soon. She’s going to Bahir Dar, Amhara’s second-largest city, to pursue more education. She’s a farm girl at heart, but she’s eager to keep learning. Now that Minchit has water, she hopes more girls in her village will have that chance, too.
charity: water multimedia producer