Without access to clean water, dreams of a promising future dry up quickly for children living in poverty overseas.
Dirty water and poor sanitation are the leading cause death for children five years old and younger, and the second leading cause of death in adults. If a child does manage to stay healthy, school is a luxury, often sacrificed in lieu of carrying water miles to and from home every day.
In an attempt to lesson those sobering statistics, Hawaiian volcanic water company Waiākea has formed a partnership with nonprofit Pump Aid, donating 650ml of clean water to the organization for every liter of water they sell.
The pumps, which are named for their unique shape, are designed for locals to be able to build and maintain themselves. They’re made from concrete casting to protect wells against contamination, and supply a steady stream of water through a simple rope and washer system.
“Working with local volunteers helps give communities a feeling of ownership of the project, since these pump-building techniques ensures sustainability,” said Waiākea CEO and Founder Ryan Emmons. “We are adamant that our product can change and save lives.”
As a direct result of Pump Aid’s work, more than 1.35 million people now have access to safe water and basic sanitation in some of the most vulnerable areas of Africa. In Malawi alone, they have delivered over 4,230 pumps that serve more than 487,600 people a day.
The impact Pump Aid has made with the help of Waiākea is undeniable: more children in school, fewer people with preventable water-borne illnesses and malnutrition, and more time for women to devote to other needs.
“It has helped me improve my health and class performance,” said Madalo Tsiti, 11. “I hope I will achieve my dream of becoming a medical doctor.”
Pump Aid asserts that they work with some of the poorest and hardest to reach communities in the world with a mission not just to give communities access to water but to achieve lasting change by improving their hygiene and sanitation practices.
For Elina Tumodzi, a mother of six who lives in from Makata village, the pump is so precious that she and her neighbors care for it as diligently as they care for their own children.
“Our children are not suffering from diarrhea like they use to when I was young,” she said. “They are able to attend school regularly.”
Tumodzi did not have the chance to finish primary school because she had to walk long distances every morning assisting her mother to fetch water instead. By the time they came back home it was too late to go to school which was also far away from their community.
Now, her first-born child, Bridget who is in Form 3 at Magawa Secondary School, is currently excelling in school and is a happy and healthy child.
With water near to their home, they can also start growing vegetables for their own consumption and to sell.
Waiākea’s goal is to expand throughout sub-Saharan Africa over the next few years, and to continue distributing their sustainable product with its environmentally friendly packaging to as many locations as possible.
“Clean water is something many of us take for granted, but for so many, it means healthy, longer lives and more opportunities to thrive,” said Emmons. “That’s why we’re eager to make an even bigger impact and reach more people in dire need of our help.”
As for the water they distribute here in the U.S., it’s electrolyte and alkaline rich, which helps support the balance of fluids in the body, and studies have shown that naturally alkaline water can even help fight osteoporosis and help aid the symptoms of acid reflux.
Being able to help those in need while buying a few bottles of something that’s actually good for your body? Now that’s refreshing.
To buy water, donate, and learn more, visit waiakeasprings.com/ethically.