Over 700, 000 people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
Many people in the developing world, usually women and children, walk more than three hours every day to fetch water that is likely to make them sick. An estimate of 200 million hours are spent each day globally collecting water. 3/4 of that is spent by women and children, which takes away from other things that they should be doing like raising their family, getting an education, working. Additionally, collecting water puts them at greater risk of sexual harassment and assault. Children are especially vulnerable to the consequences of unsafe water.
Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old. Someone dies every 15 seconds due to water related illnesses. In Richard Stearns book, “The Hole In Our Gospel”, he tells a story of his wife and an experiment she did the day before teaching on water issues. What she did was to abstain from water for the whole day. This is exactly what we are asking from you, and of us. Take today to remember those who do not have water. How are we going to do this? Well, we are going to go through the day not using water.
Here is the “Action Challenge”:
1. Pick today, or a day this week and go without water, only use it for drinking (but no bottled water, just tap).
2. Don’t use water at all, not for washing, brushing teeth, taking vitamins etc. (carry around hand sanitizer or build a tippy tap in your yard that will be your water source).
3. Pray for these issues and ask God how you can get involved, then respond by doing something.
Last week I was in Cambodia working with Rock Foundation Cambodia. Rock Foundation works with people who have been illegally displaced from their homes (this post is coming up soon). One village, where the Borei Keila was displaced to had 3 wells drilled for 100 families. One of the wells couldn’t be used at all, the other could only be used for washing and only one produced drinkable water. This community was forced from their homes and placed somewhere without one of the basic necessities of life, water. This week I want to remember the Borei Keila community as we think about water.
With this challenge, since you are just hearing about it, it may not work to do today. So, pick a day this week to go without water. Don’t do it alone, do it with a friend, a community, your church, work or school. Be creative. Bring your hand washing water to school with you and set it up in the parking lot. Then, after you go to the bathroom or any other time you have to wash your hands go to the water source to do it, it will get people asking and you can share with them about the water issue. Here is a few organizations you could talk about that are doing amazing things for the water crisis.
Please share this post with others, lets get the word out about the water crisis.
Photo by Lindsey at the Borei Keila community.