WATER OR FOOD? WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?


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Imagine that you are stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere. You haven’t eaten for days or had a single sip of water. The minute you are presented with a sign of life, you are given two options: water or food? One small meal or half a glass of water. What would you choose? Why would you choose it? What would be your rationale behind it?

Before you answer that. Now, imagine the same situation presented above. However, this time you are not stranded alone, but you have your family with you. Again, you are presented with two options: water or food? Keeping in mind that whatever you pick is by default what you will share with your whole family. What would you choose? Why would you choose it?

This will probably sound like a very easy question to answer to so many people especially because we know, were we to ever find ourselves in such a situation, it would be a short term ”inconvenience” before we get back to abundance of food and water.

Sadly, this is a constant and everyday struggle for so many people who have no access to clean water, leave alone tapped water. Trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, they are presented with this sad and touch situation every single day. Do they use the small amount of money they have to buy food for the family? Or do they use that to buy water for the family? Or do they use it to buy water for the animal(s) which is/are the only source of income for the family?

You have probably heard of cases where women and girls walk miles to find water, and then carry just one jerrycan of water for miles to be used by the whole family. To many people, this sounds like one over exaggerated  out of the world story, but in reality, there are millions of people in this world with no access to clean drinkable water.

According to The Water Project:

  • 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide.
  • 319 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are without access to improved reliable drinking water sources.
  • Two thirds or about 102 million of the 159 million people still using surface water live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 1 in 9 people world wide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.
  • 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases.
  • Girls under the age of 15 are twice as likely as boys to be the family member responsible for fetching water.
  • The physical and time burden of water hauling was found to fall primarily on women and girls who make up 72% of those tasked with fetching water.
  • Women and girls are responsible for water collection in seven out of ten households in 45 developing countries.
  • By investing in clean water alone, young children around the world can gain more than 413 million days of health!
  • Almost two-thirds, 64% of households rely on women to get the family’s water when there is no water source in the home.
  • The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; the same as an entire year’s labor in all of France!
  • Research has shown that for every 10% increase in women’s literacy, a country’s whole economy can grow by up to 0.3%.

Beyond Innocence Foundation (BIF) is currently constructing a Safe House/Rescue Center that will provide safe haven for sexually abused children (aged 0-16). The home is located in Landi, Taita Taveta, Kenya. A place that is prone to severe droughts. Years after independence, residents still have no tap water and rely on over priced water vendors for supply even though one the county is home to one of the largest water sources: Mzima springs. Water has been one of the highest expense for BIF because of having to rely on water vendors (like the locals do) to purchase over-priced water that was used for construction of the home.

On April 30th 2016, a few members of Rotary Clubs from different International Rotary Clubs met in Berlin, including our club: Rotary Club Utrecht International. The outcome of this meet up was a joint Rotary Global Grant. Through this joint grant, each club pledged to donate some amount into one single pool. The Districts then pledged some amount and finally, the Rotary Foundation Grant matched what was raised. Through this global grant, we managed to raise USD 40,000.00 to construct a water borehole. The borehole will not only provide free and clean water for the safe house, but will also provide water to the community living around the safe house. The initial estimate of the flow is between 3,500 and 5,000 litres per hour. That is enough for the estimated daily consumption of 10,000 litres.

By helping the community get access to clean and safe water, not only are you touching lives, but you are directly changing the lives and future of so many children who will not have to trek for hours looking for water, miss school or get sick from water borne diseases. Through your support, you have helped define and change the future of these children.

Special thanks to the following Rotary Clubs:

On behalf of our club, I would like to say thank you for supporting us in this project.

On a personal level, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for helping me bring help to the community.

When I founded Beyond Innocence Foundation (BIF), the only thing I had was a piece of land, a heart full of love, a soul broken to pieces due to suffering of young minors with no place to go, a desire to give back to the community, an urge to make my small contribution to the world, and a big hope of living long enough to make this a reality. Taita Taveta still remains number one when it comes to children sexual abuse in the whole country, yet there is no single safe house in the whole county. Thank you for walking with me and the whole BIF family in this long journey. There is still a lot to do, a lot of buildings to be constructed, but every one step is one step closer to finishing the home. Thank you for being part of this journey!

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world-Harriet Tubman