Thirst Project Seeks To Make A Difference In Water Crisis

Students sit captivated during the presentation, listening to the personal human stories of those affected.

Students sit captivated during the presentation, listening to the personal human stories of those affected.

By Samantha Flavell

On Nov. 1, the Oswego State campus was visited by two members of the Thirst Project.

The presenters, Kangi Downing and Brandon Howa, travel across the country to different middle schools, high schools and Universities to speak.

Students sit captivated during the presentation, listening to the personal human stories of those affected.
Students sit captivated during the presentation, listening to the personal human stories of those affected.

They began the presentation by showing a video of Jake, a senior who shared how he became involved with the Thirst Project and what he did to make a difference right away.

The Thirst Project is an organization of volunteers that is devoted to raising funds to build fresh-water wells in developing countries.

It also works to raise awareness of the water crisis and the dramatic adverse effects it has on human life.

Jake heard about the Thirst Project and wanted to get involved. He discussed how he did, what he did to make a difference and how he then traveled to Swaziland, an African country where he helped the people and saw the difference being made firsthand.

Many people from developing countries face horrible diseases, such as Schistosomiasis, more commonly known as Bilharzia, which can be contracted from just touching the water and can cause serious health concerns, he said.

Presenters Brandon Howa and Kangi Downing travel across the country to gain support for the Thirst Projects cause.
Presenters Brandon Howa and Kangi Downing travel across the country to gain support for the Thirst Projects cause.

“Water borne diseases kill more people than AIDS, malaria and world violence combined, including war,” said Jake. “The water crisis kills more kids every day than anything in the world. A child dies every 21 seconds from drinking dirty water.”

The presentation following the video was more interactive, it involved audience members being able to lift a full five-gallon ‘Jerry Can,’ much like those people would use to transport water to get a sense of just how physically taxing this process is.

There was also the opportunity to experience a virtual reality representation of what it is like living in these developing countries.

The Thirst Project was founded in 2009 and has raised $8.8 million, worked in 13 countries and served more than 330,000 people.

With freshwater wells the disease rate in these countries drops 88 percent and the child mortality rate drops 90 percent virtually overnight.

The Thirst Project is not only aimed to bring attention to the water crisis as a whole but also that the issue is not only with drinking the water.

On average Americans use 150 gallons of water a day.

Two Jerry Cans sit at the front of the room, one empty for donations and another full to simulate what people would carry for many miles every day.
Two Jerry Cans sit at the front of the room, one empty for donations and another full to simulate what people would carry for many miles every day.

In many developing countries people struggle to find five gallons of water.

It is not only drinking water that is the issue.

People in these developing countries are struggling to gather enough water to cook, bathe, wash dishes and drink.

Often women and children walk eight miles a day to gather unsanitary water from open and unprotected sources that are shared with animals.

“Everyone has the ability to make a tangible difference in someone’s life,” Howa said.

That is the driving mindset for people involved with the Thirst Project who are dedicated to making a difference in any way that they can.

“Sometimes all it takes is 20 seconds of insane courage,” Downing said. “20 seconds of embarrassing bravery and I promise you something good will come of it to make a difference.”