reLentless Love 6: Clean Drinking Water

March 23, 2015

Welcome to our reLentless Love series and Make a Difference Monday link-up! If you missed the first five weeks of reLentless Love, we shared about Access to Medical Care, Orphan Care, Single Moms, Human Trafficking, and Hunger. Today, we're highlighting the need for clean drinking water around the world and ways we can all help.

Ben and Amy Savage, along with their son Tariku, have had an amazing impact when it comes to raising awareness about the impact of cleaning water and their efforts to build water wells in Ethiopia via charity:water. When I asked Amy more about why they're so passionate about the issue of clean drinking water, I was humbled by how much we take for granted in the U.S. and what a privilege it is to be able to do something to change the lives of others around the globe through the efforts of organizations like charity:water and others.

Why are you passionate about this issue? What sparked your interest? 

When we went to Ethiopia to adopt our son, Tariku, we learned his story more fully. He had lived for four years or so with his birth father and stepmother. They collected their water from a small, dirty pond that was contaminated with God-knows-what. His family had no other choice. They needed water and that was the water they had to use. Tariku's little brother became very sick and had severe diarrhea from the water. At the age of one, he died. From dirty water.

This was where the people of Nguerenguer Village used to go for water 
Parents all over the world today do not have a choice about the water they give their children to drink. Their kids must have water and if the only water that is available is contaminated, then that's the water they get. Tariku watched his brother be born and die in the same year all because there was no clean water available in his village. As a mother, as a sibling, as a human being...this angers me. Everyone should have the ability to drink clean water. Period. Have you ever taken the time to count how many outlets you have in your house for water? I counted mine and I have 10 places I can go in my house at any time to get clean water. Ten. Most people in Africa can't even get to an unclean water source within a ten-minute walk.
When we brought Tariku home from Ethiopia, he had severe stomach and blood parasites from the water...likely, the same parasites that ultimately took his brother's life. Of course, here in America he had clean water and access to medication that got rid of the parasites relatively fast. The same sort of simple care would have likely saved the life of his brother.

With the money Tariku raised, here's their new water source
In celebration of Tariku's birth, story, and miraculous presence in our lives, our family decided to raise the money to build a water well for a village similar to the one Tariku grew up in. All it takes is $5,000 to impact the lives of 50 families. What an incredible opportunity we have to make a life-changing difference for an entire community. 

Although we began with the dream of building one well, to date, Tariku has raised over $23,000 for clean water projects (here's a great news story on Tariku's work with charity:water). 

What can you tell us about this issue? Give us a general sense of what you or your organization does.

Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery, and other illnesses -- 90 percent of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are in children under five years old. The World Health Organziation reports that over 3.6 percent of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. Charity:water is our favorite organization for several reasons: 1) 100 percent of all donations go directly to fund clean water projects around the world. They have a group of people who privately fund all the administrative fees/salaries and operating costs for charity:water, making it possible for 100 percent of every penny donated to go directly to the field. 2) Charity:water knows that terrain, water sources, and population all play a part in determining what kind of water solution will work best in a given location. One size does not fit all, so they work with indigenous partners on the ground in each country to determine what the best solution is for each location. 3) Charity:water keeps track of what community your funds go to, and once the water project is completed, you will receive a GPS location as well as information about the people whose lives were directly impacted by your donation. Cool, right?? 

How did you get involved and what would you tell someone else who may be interested in getting involved?

It's simple to be involved. You can start a clean water campaign of your own just by going to their website and signing up. Some kids do lemonade stands to raise money or speak to their classrooms about the reality of dirty water, adults run marathons or give up their birthdays to raise money -- you can be as creative as you want to be! Once you have a campaign page set up, you just talk about it! Use social media or whatever platform you may have to let people know what you are doing and why. You can track your campaign's progress on charity:water, and once it's over you'll be able to see exactly where your dollars went. What a great way to give back and make a true difference in the lives of a community! 

Thanks, Amy! To find out more about the Savages and their work with charity:water, be sure to check out their blog, Loving the Least of These. Although I have to admit that I probably won't be running any marathons anytime soon (39 weeks pregnant here, people), I love the idea of giving up a birthday to support a good cause -- let's face it, no one except for my husband and parents care about me turning 32 next October! 

In the meantime, this week we'll be praying for communities around the world who face the prospect of unclean drinking water every day. As a way to remind you to do so, I have a revolutionary idea for you: What if you gave up time spent on your smart phone in order to give water to a child in need? For every ten minutes you don’t touch your phone in the month of March, UNICEF Tap Project donors and sponsors can fund one day of clean water for a child in need. Here's how it works:

  1. Visit on your phone.
  2. Begin the challenge right away to see how long you can go without your smartphone.
  3. Donate to provide even more clean water to kids. Just $1 can provide 40 days of clean water.
Think of all the things you can do this week without the distraction of your phone -- whether it's quality time with the kids or more time spring cleaning your closets -- but if you do succumb to your phone for a few minutes, don't forget to check out charity:water.

Make A Difference Mondays is a weekly linkup designed to encourage and inspire us to live each day on purpose—making a meaningful difference in someone’s life in even the smallest of ways. Five women regularly co-host this link-up. Read on to learn more about the vision, mission, and how to link up!

Mission: Our mission is to provide a consistent gathering place for like-minded women to build online connections, share inspiration, and provide mutual encouragement and accountability as we seek to live intentionally and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Vision: Every Monday we invite bloggers to link up any blog posts that encourage women to live life on purpose, including testimonies or goals from your own life, small acts of kindness or service, creative tips or ideas for showing consideration to others — the possibilities are endless. Our objective is to use our God-given time and resources to his glory! 

Also, just a heads-up: the Make A Difference Mondays team has created aFacebook community group to stay in touch beyond the blog posts AND we also have a new #MADMlinkup group Pinterest board: Make A Difference Mondays Pinterest Board.



1 comment

  1. We truly do not know what we have to be thankful for. This is a great reminder.