by Hannah Davinroy
Over 30 percent of the world’s population is living without access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities.
One of the leading causes of death in children under the age of five is water-borne disease.
My work for the last year has been to design a project that will address the issue of contaminated water here in Chajul, Guatemala. I’ve explored many filtration systems, water pumps, and solar disinfection technology, but without education, none of these solutions are sustainable or successful.
Tuesday, Philanthropiece is hosting a community event incorporating activities such water cycle coloring sheets and a “make-your-own-filter” station as well as presentations from local organizations on their clean water technologies.
Seven local schools are coming to learn more about the importance of clean water. My hope is to spread awareness and introduce possible solutions to students and their families with the goal of promoting health.
International development work is hard. There are many ways to approach it, but none of them seem to be perfect. We can’t always change the world, but we are a drop of water in a lake and the ripples eventually hit the shore.
Tuesday is about Las Ondas. Ripples.
Today, while hosting a workshop on building a BioSand Filter, one of the filters to be presented tomorrow, I had an incredible meaningful conversation with Gerber Perez, the clean water promoter for Mission Impact. We were discussing inspiration. The question was “Why do we do this work?”.
His answer: “I do this work because I know how it feels. I carried water up a hill for my family instead of going to school. I didn’t have water in my house until 1996. I was given an opportunity to get an education. I was given an opportunity to get myself out of this situation. I am proud of my Guatemalan people for the challenges they’ve overcome. We do not need nor deserve handouts. We deserve and need an opportunity.”
And that’s where I see my role – as someone who’s life has been full of opportunity. The water fair tomorrow is about creating a ripple and an opportunity to share my knowledge and passion about something that almost everyone in the United States takes for granted.
Water should not be a privilege, but, in truth, it is.
Tomorrow, with the help of Texas A&M students, I hope to put a dent in that. I hope to promote that clean water is a basic human need.
All it takes is a drop in a bucket to create a ripple effect of change.
Hannah Davinroy is currently a senior at Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colorado. She is part of Philathropiece’s Youth Global Leadership Program and has spent the past week in Chajul with Aggies, who plan to help her at the Clean Water Fair.