Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Education Can Be as Simple as WaterAid

"Millions of children around the world suffer because they don't have access to safe water and sanitation. Living without these vital services has a devastating impact on their health, education, and family relationships."

Everyday, I make my kids drink water. Why? Because I know that a healthy brain and body requires that basic ingredient that all life on this planet needs. I know that sugary drinks affect my kids' ability to focus when we are doing school, and can affect their energy level later in the day. In the morning, my kids drink milk or orange juice to help their brains find the energy it needs for them to focus and calculate. But at some point during the day, my kids have to drink a glass of water.

You know what? I'm lucky. I'm lucky because I can give them clean, safe water to drink. But did you know that across the globe, 800 million people do not have access to it? And because of that, 2,000 children die every day from easily prevented diarrheal diseases.  hundreds - maybe even thousands - of others are unable to attend school because they are too busy carrying water for their families and communities... especially young girls. These girls may have to carry large, heavy containers full of water for up to three miles or more, and the weight can damage their heads, necks, and spines. Other girls are forced to quit school whenever they reach puberty because their schools do not have private sanitation facilities.

Children may also be forced to skip school because they are suffering from water-related diseases. And in turn, their mother may not be able to work because she is too busy taking care of her sick child.

Which is why I want to take the time to endorse WaterAid. Founded in 1981, WaterAid transforms lives by helping the world’s poorest people gain access to safe water and sanitation. Together with local organizations, communities and individuals, WaterAid uses affordable and locally appropriate solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to people in developing countries. They have programs in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific region and Central America.I love that WaterAid especially focuses on the needs of children. Their teams create centrally located water sources (wells) to minimize the distance that children will have to walk to carry water. These water sources also allow families to grow and cook food, which helps children to grow stronger and healthier, and better able to concentrate on their studies. WaterAid also checks that latrines (in schools) are designed so they are appropriate for use by children.

I want to encourage you to talk with your children about the importance of fresh, clean water. Last week, I shared on my FB page, this free, new printable diagram of the water cycle that was recently created by the U.S. Geological Survey for elementary and middle-school students. Print it out and share it with your child!

And make your children drink plenty of water on a daily basis. You can add flavor with a slice of lemon or strawberry. But I think it is better to train them to love the taste of water in its purest form.

And if you'd like to show your support to WaterAid, you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Global Team 200 and our efforts to do social good by writing about issues that affect our communities and the organizations who are doing something to make this world a better place.


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