By Christina Lambert
Over a sixth of the world’s population doesn’t have access to uncontaminated drinking water, according to the World Health Organization.
In 2004, Scott Harrison started Charity: Water after he visited Africa and saw the severe poverty conditions. The organization has funded 2,906 projects, providing clean drinking water to an estimated 1,277,430 people.
According to the organization’s website, charitywater.org, 100 percent of donations are spent developing ways to bring clean water to people who have none. This includes building wells and sanitation facilities.
For only 20 dollars, one person can have uncontaminated water for up to 20 years.
Sarah Lowdon, the chair of Charity: Water at UMW saw Harrison speak at a Model UN conference last summer at the University of Pennsylvania. The speech inspired Lowdon to bring Charity: Water to UMW.
“[Harrison is] a really great speaker, and we hope to bring him to campus if possible,” said Lowdon.
Charity: Water is currently a council under COAR, but is taking the necessary steps to becoming an official club at UMW. Lowdon started organizing the club over the summer so they could begin the year strong and get the word out as soon as classes resumed.
The club has already raised almost 500 dollars, but is working towards raising enough money to fund a well. It costs 5,000 dollars to build one well, which can provide water to a village of 250 people for 20 years.
“It’s so inspiring, and that’s why we’re doing it here,” said Lowdon.
Once the money is raised and given to Charity: Water, UMW will be sent pictures of the well being built and be able to look up the coordinates on Google Earth.
Currently the UMW chapter of Charity: Water has four officers and 20 members who regularly attend meetings and events. They have a table at the Nest on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide information about Charity: Water and collect donations.
Any amount of money, even spare change, will get donors a birthday card to send to a friend. Or, you can pledge your birthday to Charity: Water and send all of your friends cards encouraging them to donate to the organization.
Harrison developed this idea on his 32nd birthday when he donated 32 dollars and asked friends and family to do the same.
Charity: Water is already planning future events, like a letter writing campaign to occur over winter break. Participants will write letters to family and friends asking for donations and raising awareness of the cause. They are also planning the H20 Olympics for next semester.
The event will feature a slip-and-slide, capture the flag, a swim-a-thon, tug-of-war and a charity walk with local West African refugees.