September 27, 2012

How to Save an African Starfish

by Kristin Allen

{source: Liz Ellingsen}

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman came across a young man picking up starfish, one by one, and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

Sometimes, world issues can seem so big, and human suffering so great, that people can’t imagine how as an individual, they can make a difference.  When you are dealing with a water scarcity crisis that impacts around 1.2 billion people (almost one-fifth of the world's population), it seems even more hopeless.   However, it is BECAUSE the problem is so enormous that everyone MUST get involved.  

Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries of any region on that continent.  Niger is the second poorest country in the world.   What is the main reason why 1 in 7 infants and children die in rural Niger before the age of 5? Drinking contaminated water.  So the bottom line is…. safe water is key, because safe water saves lives.  

Wells Bring Hope is saving lives in Niger by drilling wells to bring safe water and sanitation to rural villages. They rely on people like you and me to raise money to help them do it.    Once lives are saved by providing safe, clean water to villages, then the people of Niger can actually start LIVING!!   

Women and girls walk 4-6 miles a day to get water and with all of their time taken up by this task, girls can’t go to school.  When a well is drilled, girls are able to go to school, and women can spend their new found time earning an income through microloans provided by Wells Bring Hope…..and mothers can stop living in constant fear that contaminated water is going to kill their children.

So look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I want to save some lives today?”  If the answer is “yes”, then you can make it happen through Wells Bring Hope.  


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