Charity: Water – A Minimalist Approach to Giving Back

Charity Water

Photo Credit: Charity Water

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This morning I got up, filled the kettle with water and put it on to boil. Next I filled our Brita jug, which I then used to fill my water bottle for gym.

Cape Town’s water is perfectly safe to drink, but we prefer to filter it anyway.

Once the kettle had boiled I half filled a mug with hot water, topped it up with filtered water from the jug and added the juice of half a lemon.

They say it’s alkalizing, I just like the taste.

I brushed my teeth, went to the toilet and then left for my spinning class.

Although only 45 minutes long, the guys at Virgin Active always come and fill our water bottles halfway through the class. It’s hardly necessary, but they like to go the extra mile, so why not, right?

Besides, it’s not like it’s hard work or anything. They simply carry the bottles to the water fountain, place them beneath the automatic spout and wait for them to fill up. Probably the most taxing part of the process is grabbing the bottle away before it overflows. But even if it does, oh well.

Back from gym, I filled the kettle a second time to make coffee. Because caffeine plus endorphins equals winning!

It’s apparently not as alkalizing as lemon juice, but I like how it tastes anyway.

While the coffee was brewing Sporty ran a bath. When she was done, I ran mine.

Clean and sweat-free, we met at the breakfast table to enjoy a hearty bowl of buckwheat porridge, which Sporty made for us using boiling water from the kettle (and Blendobi, obvs).

So Much of What We Do Involves Water

charity water

Apologies for the yawn of an intro, but I was making a point.

So much of what we do throughout the day involves water. If you’re reading this, chances are you too have the pleasure of indoor plumbing.

Intellectually, I get how lucky we are. I try to make a point of being mindful and expressing gratitude, but honestly, more often than not I just do stuff without thinking.

I turn on the tap, use the water that gushes out and close it again when I’m done. I’ve never not had immediate and easy access to clean, running water.

On the few occasions where, say, a pipe has burst and the water supply had to be temporarily switched off, I’d find myself dumbfounded. How on earth was I going to cope for two whole hours while they attended to the problem?

I mean, what if I needed the toilet or wanted to make tea?

The Global Water Crisis

663 million people in the world live without clean water. That’s nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide. Or, twice the population of the United States. The majority live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family.

Not only does walking for water keep kids out of school or take up time that parents could be using to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make everyone sick. Access to clean water means education, income and health – especially for women and kids. [Source: Charity: Water]

Clean Water Changes Everything

Apart from no longer being exposed to the diseases in dirty water (which kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war), clean water means the women in these communities get their lives back. It’s not uncommon for them to walk eight hours a day just to fetch water.

It also means children can get an education, because they no longer have to spend their days collecting water either. Proper sanitation in schools means teenage girls don’t have to miss a week of school each month when they get their period.

Clean water literally changes everything.

Enter Charity: Water

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 35% of Americans lack faith in charities. Founder, Scott Harrison, took this to heart when he started Charity: Water in 2006.

From the outset he was determined that 100% of public donations would go to funding the clean water projects. He then sourced private donors to cover the overhead costs.

Side(ish) note: I learnt about Charity: Water while listening to Rich Roll’s interview with Scott.

Side(isher) note: Every time I tell Sporty about something I’ve learnt, I preface it with: “I heard about this interesting thing on Rich Roll’s podcast…” 

Giving is Easy

Charity Water

Photo Credit: Charity Water

With Scott’s 100% Model, giving has never been easier or more rewarding. You can give once, give monthly or sponsor an entire community. It’s up to you. There’s also the option of making a donation in honour of someone else.

Say, for instance, the minimalist in your life has a birthday coming up.

The Spring is a great way to invest in a world where everyone has clean water. All it takes is $60 a month to give 24 people clean water every year. Even if you can only afford $5 a month, it still makes a difference. When every dollar donated is going directly to the project, every dollar really does count.

If you’re not a minimalist you can support Charity: Water by buying really cool swag from their online store. I swear, sometimes I reeeaaallly wish I wasn’t a minimalist. Because customisable T-shirts and fixies.

Fundraising more your speed? Why not start your own Charity: Water campaign and force your friends and family to donate too. Sick of birthdays for birthdays sake? Donate yours to a worthwhile cause.

The organisation is also 100% transparent about their efforts, with financials freely available on their website and proof of every completed project on Google Maps.

Next Year I Turn 50!

Charity Water

Photo Credit: Charity Water

Sporty keeps pestering me about what I’d like to do for my 50th. I honestly don’t know. I’ve never really been into parties or making a big taran-ta-rah about birthdays, but I guess it’d be nice to mark the occasion in some way. After all, I am turning half a century old.

When I turned 30 my Dad teased me about being middle-aged. I wonder what he’d say now!?

My birthday falls on March 8 (which also happens to be International Women’s Day, I’m just sayin’) and for once I’m behaving in a manner contrary to my usual last minute dot com style.

With more than six months until the big day, I’m giving y’all plenty of time to save up for my birthday present. I know in some circles it’s considered ungracious to tell people what you want, but luckily for us I didn’t grow up in those circles (or anywhere near them, for that matter).

So…please can you donate $50 (or whatever amount you can afford) to Charity: Water for me?



If you enjoyed reading this post and would like something written for your own blog, website, newsletter or annual family missive, get in touch. Ang would be happy to help. Check out her Hire Me page for all the deets.

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