All children should have the chance to grow up happy and healthy. Kids who do not have access to clean water don’t have that opportunity, which is part of the reason I am happy to take the World Vision Canada clean water challenge.
A few weeks ago my family started the World Vision Canada water challenge. The goal was to get everyone here thinking about children and families around the world and the scarcity of clean water as a resource. It was also my intention to help my kids to see how many sources of clean water we have available to us here in our home. This wasn’t about guilt, but more about challenging my family to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
As always, when I start doing something with World Vision Canada, I immediately learn things. That alone is a valuable tool. I have never really given much thought to water as a life giving force. We exercise and try to lead a healthy lifestyle here and for that reason we drink a lot of water. We know it hydrates bodies and makes brains work better. It keeps us clean and we also swim in it. We have never really spent any time considering how a scarcity of clean water impacts health, education, family and general well being.
I consider and try to save water here most days. I remind my teen and my tween often to cut their shower time in half and to consider turning the faucet off when they are brushing their teeth. Trust me, with a teen and a tween girl in the house, that alone is a challenge.
It’s challenge time! Today we are doing the @worldvisioncan #worldvisionwater challenge. I invite you to join us – do your own challenge this month. Make it a positive family experience and a learning tool. First count how many water sources are in your home. Then think of a way you can challenge your family to do better. Today we will use only one source of water in our house. (Upstairs bathroom) Hoping to help my kids understand that clean water is not an unlimited resource and many people in many areas of the world do not have access. We will also talk about how many kids their age walk sometimes two hours a day to get water for their family. Later we’ll take a long walk together to talk about how we can help more as a family. #love #family #water #kids #health also hoping we save money over the next two months – using less water may help us save enough to be able to give the gift of a water filter Http://www.worldvision.ca/ #charity #giving #meaningfulgifts #healthyliving World Vision does impactful work that changes lives. Clean water helps children grow, stay healthy, avoid water borne illnesses, stay in school and become healthy adults. Sometimes we all forget that. Wish us luck!
My entire family supports World Vision Canada. It is the charity that is closest to our hearts and has been so since I travelled with World Vision Canada to Colombia back in September 2014. The work World Vision Canada does changes lives, and shapes entire communities. So when we heard about the water challenge we were excited to try it. We considered several options. Would we use only the outdoor water tap for an entire day? Would we consider using one pot of water for the entire day? Could we use just one faucet in the house all day and would that be enough to help us to understand the impact of clean water for a family?
In the end we decided on using just one faucet for an entire day. We chose the upstairs bathroom as the faucet because it meant we had to climb the stairs all day and I liked that this gave us a bit of a challenge.
Our World Vision Canada Water Challenge:
The week before our challenge I started by talking to my family about what we were going to do and why. I asked for their input on what we would make our challenge look like and I had both my kids walk around the house noting how many sources of clean water that we had easily available to us. We counted 15 if you include all sources of water in the house, toilets, tubs, dishwasher, washer/dryer etcetera. Obviously we don’t use all of those for drinking water, but reality is we have access to more sources of clean water than most people do. Canadians are extremely fortunate that way. That tiny exercise helped my kids to realize how much water we use and how lucky we are. In future I hope they remember to use less water as a result.
We started our challenge on Sunday. My kids woke up first and wanted eggs and bacon for breakfast. I had filled the coffee maker the night before so that I had enough water for my coffee. That helped me out. My kids were into the challenge right from the start. I wrote a reminder and placed it near the kitchen sink so nobody forgot and used the wrong faucet. My husband also embraced the World Vision Canada Water Challenge.
We cracked the eggs and cooked the bacon. Now, right from the start that created a small issue of health for me and for my family. When we cook eggs and bacon we like to wash our hands frequently because raw egg and raw bacon are health risks that can make you sick. So, as we were cooking we were up and down the stairs to wash with soap a few times. That also created a small safety risk because one, or both of us had to leave the stove for a few minutes to go upstairs. We finished doing that and had breakfast and then went back upstairs to wash our hands after the meal. We left our dishes actually until the next morning. We could have just as easily brought some of them upstairs to wash but didn’t think of it really. We left all laundry for a day and drank water only from the water that was already in the fridge in a jug, or from the upstairs faucet. Later my daughter wanted to make herself a BLT sandwich and she needed to wash tomatoes so she carried them upstairs and washed them there. That part was interesting and foreign to us. We are used to being able to wash our food and our hands often for purposes of maintaining good health. I could see easily how lacking clean water compromises health and honestly this experience was a tiny fraction of what happens in countries that are struggling to rebuild after war, or natural disaster or other extreme hardship.
We freshened up that day with the one tap together in the one room of our home. No showers allowed. We had the luxury of knowing though that this was just one day. It’s fairly easy to manage a challenge for just one day. Not so easy to live where water is scarce. Where water is scarce women and children often end up walking for hours just to get clean water for their family. Often the wells are not clean and yet it is the only resource they have available. When women and children walk for hours to get water, it becomes a full time pursuit, meaning that Moms have less time to care for and spend with their families. Children who walk for water end up often missing the chance to go to school at all. Where water is scarce and clean water is in jeopardy childrens’ health is also at risk.
In the end it wasn’t a big hardship for us to do this water challenge and to imagine how other families around the world might struggle when they don’t have access to clean water. It was one small day in our lives. We managed and we opened the conversation with our kids. Now, we have all set a greater goal of saving water, and saving money as a result, so that in addition to sponsoring a child with World Vision Canada, we can also give the gift of clean water to someone in a developing country.
A few more facts about Clean Water gifts from World Vision Canada:
- Clean Water gifts can be as little as $25 a month and make a dramatic impact.
- Children lead healthier lives and child death rates dramatically decrease due to a decline in diseases caused by unclean water, poor sanitation and lack of hygiene
- When children and families have access to clean water, it transforms every aspect of their lives. Together with improved sanitation and proper hygiene, clean water brings real change.
- There is also a $50/ month gift of clean water.
- Sustainability is a goal for WVC projects.
- Families spend less time apart when they have clean water because there’s less need to walk long distances just to collect the water they need.
- World Vision provides more people with clean water than any other NGO.
Consider giving and consider having your family take on this challenge too. Pick a goal and work towards it. One faucet a day. One jug of water for one day to wash and cook and do teeth with.
Do you have your own idea of how to make this a goal for your family? I’d love to hear it. Together we can all make a difference.
Please join us for a twitter party on May 3rd at 8 p.m. EST to learn more. Follow the conversation with #worldvisionwater and share your family water challenge too!
I work with World Vision Canada from time to time and I help coordinate their blogger outreach program through my business Thrifty Mom Media social media consulting. I am compensated as a result. My opinion is all my own and it is always truthful.