Nonprofit of the Week: Join the Fight, Water is a Human Right

Organization: Thirst Project

Location: Los Angeles, California

Cause: The global water crisis

Regions of Service: Currently Active in

  1. Swaziland
  2. El Salvador
  3. Uganda
  4. India
  5. Kenya

About the global water crisis:

The global water crisis affects more than 700 million people worldwide. This means that on average, women and children walk 3.7 miles per day to often contaminated water sources for the water that they use to drink, clean, and cook.

Waterborne illnesses kill more than AIDS and malaria COMBINED! According to the World Health Organization, 88% of all diarrhoeal disease in the world is caused by a lack of access to clean, safe water, so if the water crisis ended today, the global disease would be cut significantly!

Consuming dirty water is not the only problem, though. Thirst Project has documented dozens of cases of spinal and pelvic deformities, chronic fatigue, and spontaneous miscarriages from the act of carrying water to homesteads.

About Thirst Project:

Thirst Project was founded in 2008 when seven college students in Los Angeles learned about the global water crisis and decided to make a change. The students pooled their money (which amounted to about $70) and bought cases of water and jerry cans. They headed out to Hollywood Boulevard and handed out bottles of water and challenged passersby to carry a full jerry can down the street. 

After hearing about the global water crisis, people gave back and the $70 investment turned into $1,700. That group of students was invited to local schools and eventually raised over $12,000. When founder Seth Maxwell and friends realized that no one was activating youth around this issue, they created the Thirst Project.

Since 2009, Thirst Project has traveled across North America speaking at middle schools, high schools, and colleges to educate students about the global water crisis.

What they do:

Thirst Project is not doing anything revolutionary. The organization hires Swazi engineers to drill 200 to 300 feet into the ground to existing water tables to build freshwater wells. In countries like India, Thirst Project fundraisers project bio-sand filters that filtrate contaminated water.

Impact:

  1. 3,018 water projects
  2. 413,427 people served
  3. 13 countries
  4. $10 million raised