Clean Water in Ethiopia

Brina Furman, left, is raising money for JDC's Clean Water Initiative in Ethiopia.

Take a minute and think about your day to day. You probably woke up and used the bathroom, sitting on a flushing toilet and washing your hands with running water. Then you probably brushed your teeth with water straight out of the faucet. Maybe you took a 15-minute shower, using approximately 24 gallons of clean, filtered water. You drank a glass of water out of the kitchen sink while you made breakfast with dishes washed in your dishwasher.

Now rewind and consider what your morning would have looked like if I told you that you no longer have any running or potable water.

That’s what life is like for thousands of Ethiopians. In the country, 60% of all citizens do not have access to clean water – we aren’t talking about running water, but just potable water, with dirt and fecal matter filtered out. That number increases to 70% when you move the conversation to the people living in rural areas.

In January of 2013, I traveled with 19 other University of Maryland students to visit the country of Ethiopia and JDC's projects there. In a twelve-day trip, we explored the capital of Addis Ababa, the third-largest city of Gondar, and rural areas a few hours by car from these major cities. We saw clinics that the JDC is working with Rick Hodes on and met many of his patients. We saw the office of JDC’s micro-finance projects and met many of the women whose lives were changed by the loans. All of this work was incredible and continued to open my eyes to global issues. But nothing struck me like visiting the water wells outside Gondar.

The first well we came to was literally in the middle of nowhere. We had been driving on dirt roads for miles. There was no grocery store, no hotel and no gas station like we’re used to in rural America. There was nothing but huts and farmland, with children running by the car asking for money. Nothing.

Clean water wells drastically lower the rates of illnesses by filtering many bacteria out of the water. But we aren’t just talking about making people feel better: we’re talking about saving lives. Out of 1,000 babies born in Ethiopia, 77 will die before they reach age 5. Many of these deaths can be easily prevented: unclean water causes diarrhea, leading to far too many death by dehydration. Furthermore, many young women have to walk miles a day to reach clean water, preventing them from getting an education. This spirals: education often is the key to raising social economic status.  Without a stable economic income, many women are forced to marry early in order to be financially supported.

Today, I’ve vowed to raise money to build a well in the country with JDC. Please visit my fundraising website here.  and read about one child’s life that inspired the entire project. Any donation is beyond appreciated! Even if you cannot financially support my goal, please take a moment and share what you've learned with someone else. I am a strong believer that the key to change is awareness. Thank you for your time. 

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April 29, 2013 at 7:30 PM




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