Yesterday was World Water Day, which was was initiated by the United Nations in 2005 to draw focus to the global crisis for 1.1 billion people who lack safe drinking water. I want to do my part in observing World Water Day — and, yes, to be honest, it really is the least I can do — by calling attention once more to my friends at Healing Waters International. This organization celebrated its role in helping resolve the world’s water crisis by giving away free water yesterday at each of the nearly 70 water purification systems they have built in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Guatemala. I’ve visited several of their sites in the DR, and the work they do is impressive.
Since 2002, Healing Waters has distributed almost 75 million gallons of safe drinking water to poor communities in developing countries. The purified water is sold at a highly affordable price, less than a third the retail price, in order to provide sustainability to the water systems run by local partners (usually churches) while still making it accessible to the poorest in the communities.
Here’s what makes Healing Waters unique, though: They’re not just distributing water. The organization’s model is focused on sustainability along with personal and community transformation. The water is usually purified at stations staffed by local churches, which connects people to the church. The churches are put in a position of serving their communities, which connects the church to the people. Everyone benefits. More than 110,000 people in poor, urban slums get their daily drinking water from Healing Waters sites. Additionally, the projects have put nearly $500,000 back into their neighborhoods with community service funds (which is a requirement for churches receiving their systems) and have donated more than 3 million gallons to local schools (another requirement). Every $50 donated to Healing Waters International since they began has provided safe drinking water for life to another person.
Let me say that again: For $50, you can provide safe drinking water for life to a person in an urban slum in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, or Guatemala. Or, you know, you can go to Starbucks a dozen times this month.
To donate to Healing Waters and bring water for life to the poor, click here.
Right now, if you choose to sign up to be on the Healing Waters mailing list, you’ll receive a free hand-woven Mayan Bracelet.