For most of us reading this now, when we need water, we simply walk to a sink and turn on the tap. But for almost 663 million people across the globe, obtaining clean, safe water is not such a simple task. In these countries which lack access to clean water, women and children have to travel an average of six to eight hours a day just to collect water that is often unsanitary.
Water also has major effects on the treatment and management of HIV/AIDS. In many cases, the water that infected people are drinking will kill them faster than AIDS itself. It is almost hard to believe this is the reality for so many around the globe.
In 2008, a group of 19-year-old friends in Southern California learned about the global water crisis. Rather than deciding that they were too young to help or that the task was too large, these college-age friends took action. They bought 1,000 bottles of water and gave them away to over 1,000 people in one day just to begin a conversation with those individuals about the global water crisis. Through their water give-away, they not only raised awareness, they raised $1,700 towards building a freshwater well.
Then the friends started receiving calls to come speak to other schools about the need for clean water around the world. And that is how The Thirst Project was born. Focusing entirely on educating middle school, high school and college students, Thirst Project ambassadors visit schools across the U.S. every year. In their first seven years, the Thirst Project has funded projects to provide over 280,000 people with clean water.
One of the schools the Thirst Project has visited is Park City High School, in Park City, Utah. Under the leadership of teacher Ashley Mott, Park City High School (PCHS) started a Thirst Club this year. Currently the Thirst Club is working to raise $7,500 to fund a well in Uganda. The life expectancy of Ugandans is only 59 and more than half of the 36 million people in Uganda are under the age of 15. The need for clean water in Uganda is great.
In a community that is noted as being one of the most affluent in the United States, it is exciting to see these PCHS students take action to give back and to help those who otherwise would never have access to clean water. Says one student, “Through Thirst Club, I get to be a part of something bigger than myself and make a real difference in hundreds of lives.” To learn more about the Thirst Project and Park City’s involvement, visit the Thirst Club’s page at ThirstProject.com. Clean, fresh water can truly change the world.