The Thursday before Spring break, two representatives from The Thirst Project presented to the upper school their mission and the importance of their work.
The Thirst Project is a non profit organization dedicated to bringing clean and accessible drinking water to communities across all of Africa. The representatives, two women aged 19 and 20, shared for an hour and a half the importance of clean water and the detriment faced when people don’t have access to it.
“I was actually excited to go to this one,” said senior Audrey Lemon. “The topic and the charity seemed pretty interesting because it was supposed to be a little interactive.”
The assembly started with them explaining how The Thirst Project was founded. In 2009, when Seth Maxwell was introduced to the devastating reach of the global water crisis, he was inspired to do something about it. To try and make a difference, he and a group of seven students pooled all their money together and bought about 1,000 bottles of water. They handed them out on Hollywood Boulevard to raise awareness, and in turn raised $1,700 in that one day. This was the catalyst that created The Thirst Project.
The issues that arise from lack of clean water are numerous and enduring. When a community doesn’t have water, the mortality rates rise, food security plummet, and economic development stays stagnant. In the entire world, 663 million people don’t have access to clean water. This means that there is a very substantial number of communities that are plagued by the problems that arise from dirty water. This epidemic can affect communities in ways outside of the expected. Women and children are usually the ones tasked with collecting dirty water, traveling an average of 3.7 miles a day carrying around 44 and 110 pounds. This means that many women and children spend their days traveling instead of getting educations. Furthermore, the long term health effects from carrying such heavy loads are often inumerable. Among others, spinal pains, spinal and pelvic deformities, and even miscarriages.
The most effective solution to this global issue is to build wells. The Thirst Project is tasked with raising money and traveling all over Africa to instal hand pump freshwater wells. One well can transform a community, fueling health and sanitation, food security, education, and economic development. Through their multifaceted W.A.S.H. programs, they install wells, created pit latrines, and teach proper hygiene to residents. Each of these initiatives reduce deaths by 20%, 37.5%, and 35%.
The appeal of The Thirst Project, specifically, is that it was created by students for students. Their conception and methods are attractive to students in that from the beginning their goals were genuine.
“I thought it was one of the better activity periods that we’ve had,” said Aaryaa Pandey ‘21.
As the representatives said, “No one was utilizing students because no one thought that we cared. The Thirst Project tries to undo that idea by showing everyone that we do care.”