Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story. ..
My journey began several years ago. I was listening to the founder of a non-profit organization speak about the water crisis in the world and its devastating effects, especially in the continent of Africa. I have always been aware of the fact that many people don’t have clean water, but he told a story that gripped my heart. Unfortunately, the story he told is actually quite common in places where a water crisis exists.
He was visiting Africa and met a woman who lived there. As he spoke to her, she explained that several times every day, she would walk an hour each way to get water for her family. Her water source was the same water that wild animals drank from, and was also polluted with waste that was carried from upstream. The dirty water was bad enough, but worse yet, the local men would set up an ambush and rape her when she passed them. Though she faced this danger each day, she had to keep making this trek day after day because it was the only way her family could get water. I found this woman’s story to be absolutely devastating and I knew I had to do something. The truth she is not alone. 633 million people don’t have access to clean water. Even if they don’t face the danger of rape, they all face the danger of disease. In fact, diseases caused by dirty water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. 43% of those deaths are children under the age of five.
Here’s the good news. The lack of access to clean water is a problem that can be solved. Clean water has positive effects on education, the health system, and the economy of a community. Bringing clean water to a community has the ability to change a life, change a family, change a village, and forever change a generation. The great news is that access to clean water and basic sanitation can save around 16,000 lives every week.
Two years ago I had an idea. It was my wife’s birthday and I decided to sponsor the construction of a well, name it after her, and present it to her on her birthday. This experience brought some valuable lessons. First, the feeling of accomplishment was huge! Not only was I able to surprise my wife on her birthday, which is really hard to do, but I was also able to help change a village with a nominal amount of money. I know it didn’t change the world but it changed their world. The second lesson I learned is that people are generous. Not only did people contribute, but they were happy to do so knowing that they were helping others in great need. Lastly, I learned that this cause is too great to stop there. I wanted to continue to help.
This year, I started a non-profit called Hope For The D.R. Congo. My attention was drawn to the Democratic Republic of the Congo when I became friends with a man who was born there. He shared the condition of the country with me, and I knew this is where I wanted to focus my efforts. Only 26% of the people of the DR Congo have access to clean water. There are so many more needs in that country, but for now, my desire is to see wells dug and clean water available to all.
President, Hope For The D.R. Congo