Water is the essential component of all life. Water covers 70% of the entire Earth’s surface, but only 1% of it is fresh enough for consumption, and most of that is difficult to access, held in aquifers deep inside the earth. Of the water consumed globally each year, agriculture accounts for 70%, industry for 30%, and nutrition and health for 2%. This meager amount supports over 7.3 billion humans, animals and other living organisms. The need for water affects every aspect of human life – health, education, and hunger. These are some of the reasons we are committed to providing clean water, and therefore, health to the people of Haiti.
Water and Health
Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease. In developing countries, about 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. One out of every 5 deaths in humans under the age of five worldwide is due to a water-related disease. Clean and safe water is essential to healthy living. Most of these waterborne diseases are found in undeveloped countries because of a lack of sophisticated water systems that filter and chlorinate water to eliminate all disease carrying organisms. Rural dwellers and the urban poor feel the lack of safe water and proper sanitation in the developing world the most. Illness caused by dirty water saps people’s energy. When a person is sick, neither they nor their caregiver can attend classes or work. Money for medicine takes away from essentials like food, clothing, fuel, or supplies.
Water and Education
Education is critical for breaking the cycle of poverty and yet over half of the world’s schools lack access to safe water and sanitation facilities. The lack of safe water can cause even the best students to lose momentum as they deal with stomach pains and diarrhea from disease and hunger. If teachers are sick, classes get cancelled for all students. Schools cannot run programs if they cannot provide water to students, faculty and their families. For girls, the situation is especially troublesome as it is typically the responsibility of the women to fetch water thus limiting their access to both education and business opportunities. Every day, women and young girls carry more than 40 pounds of water from sources up to 10 miles away from their homes. This leaves little time for the education critical to changing the long-term prospects of developing nations.
Water and Hunger
It may seem simple, but without access to a reliable source of water, food is hard to grow and even more difficult to preserve and prepare. It takes huge amounts of water to grow food. Globally 70% of our water goes to agriculture and irrigation. Water is fundamental to relieving hunger in the developing world. Lack of water causes in poor crops and often limited or no harvests, which are vital to feeding villagers.
Barco’s Nightingales Foundation is working towards relieving the water issues in the rural mountain areas of Haiti. Our solar water wells have given thousands of people access to clean water, improving health, alleviating hunger, and promotion education. In addition, we serve over 600 hot lunches each month to Haitian students, so that they get the nutrition and food needed to concentrate on their education.
We are proud of what we have accomplished so far in Haiti and look forward to continuing these needed projects. You can help by following this link and becoming a part of our Community of Compassion.
~Michael and Frida Donner