Guest Blog: Peg Peters, Executive Director Run for Water
Water for Waraba Series, Part 1: Waraba Anticipating Water
Over the next couple of weeks, we want to introduce you to the town of Waraba, Ethiopia. Waraba is one of Run for Water’s partner communities for 2019, and we will be working together to bring clean water source to the centre of their community. In a series of blog posts, we’ll go over the community (see below), the project, the milestones and updates on what has been achieved, and the outcome. Throughout we hope to give our readers an understanding of the hard work that is committed by the Waraba community and other Ethiopians and why this is a sustainable model of change which leads to ripples of empowerment for generations!
Teriba Nani and her family have been waiting for years to access clean water in their community. On the day that our small team of interviewers arrive in Waraba, she is waiting for us in with excitement, and she admits – a bit of nervousness. Her anticipation is for good reason – of her six children, two of them are currently sick at home because of diseases caused by drinking dirty water. Water that she and her eldest daughter spend hours upon hours walking to access every day. Teriba is not alone in this dilemma – in fact her story is one example of an experience shared by thousands of mothers all across Ethiopia. It’s for this reason that she meets us on the road into Waraba – she wants to see if all the talk she’s heard in her community about a clean water project coming is true. If it is, she says, it will change everything. Teriba says that she has been left behind by death – it has come for so many of her neighbours and friends throughout the years, in gulps of dirty water that they all must drink. Escaping the generational cycles of sickness and death is so close for this community, and when the day comes soon when their taps are opened, it will be a joyful day – a celebration of new life arriving in Waraba.
An individual who sees the effect that water has on his community in stark relief is school principal Dedefo Shanko (left). In the last year alone, 154 students dropped out of school because they needed to spend their time accessing water, or they were too sick to continue attending. Students in his school drink from a pond outside the school that is full of algae, bugs and dirt. Teachers struggle to provide quality education to children who miss school frequently. The girls in his classrooms feel the pressure the most – they are the ones who are expected to retrieve water, and the ones who suffer the most from the lack of it. In the hot season, when the water dries up girls have to travel long distances in order to find new sources – taking up valuable time that they need to stay in school and succeed at their studies. Musina Hassen, a student in grade 6, is looking forward to all the time she will have to study once her community has access to clean water. Her siblings are married and have dropped out of school, but she is determined to continue her education and make a new life for herself. With access to clean water right beside her school, she will be able to attend regularly.
Access to clean water will change the stories of these three individuals. Clean water in Waraba means that Teriba will not have to watch helplessly as her children repeatedly are sick, Dedefo will be able to educate his students and provide them with the skills they need to pursue a university education and careers that they are passionate about, and Musina will be able to decide for herself what her future will hold.
Clean water is health, education, and opportunity – clean water is life!
As an entry into the global and digital fundraising landscape, Run for Water has partnered with BitGive for Waraba’s fundraising campaign. BitGive facilitates the fundraising for charitable donations using bitcoin, and other currencies, and remains dedicated to using today’s cutting-edge financial technologies for social good. The first of its kind, BitGive is revolutionizing global philanthropy through technology with its flagship project, GiveTrack. Working with BitGive to host Waraba’s fundraising campaign on GiveTrack is an exciting way for Run for Water to expand the awareness and reach of Waraba’s needs beyond our local Canadian community, where the bulk of our fundraising efforts are directed towards. We recognize that innovation and the digitization of value is increasing opportunities of global collaboration, and we believe there is no better way to bring people together than helping others.
Please follow along our series of blog posts coming up, but don’t wait to donate. Head to GiveTrack now and support Teriba Nani, Dedefo Shanko, Musina Hassen and all the others around them! There you can find how far along our fundraising goal we are, get updates on the project, and keep in touch as we complete milestones!
Contact: Melissa Quinn, Manager of Digital Partnerships, [email protected]