by Christine Clemons
As we celebrate the ten year anniversary of Wells Bring Hope, I had the chance to meet with
Founder and President of Wells Bring Hope, Barbara Goldberg. We talked about Wells Bring
Hope, what inspires her and some of her favorite memories.
One of Barbara’s favorite memories with Wells Bring hope was her very first trip to Niger.
On her first trip to Niger, the very first day, at the first village they visited, Barbara met Halima, a
woman who had lost eleven of her twelve children from contaminated water. This story will live
with Barbara forever, it is the embodiment of what happens when there is no clean water
available and is the worst thing imaginable to a mother. Through her loss, Halima was still
joyful, and a warm person. After drilling a well, and reconnecting three years later, Halima told
Barbara that now no other woman in her village will have to experience what she had
experienced because they now have access to safe water.
One of Barbara’s proudest moments of WBH would be this month, March 2018, and
reaching our goal of drilling 500 wells. Through this, we have transformed the lives of half a
million people in the poorest country in the world. She cannot conceive of anything making her
For Barbara, WBHS’ biggest accomplishment would be our ability to expand and do all
we have accomplished, while still remaining an all-volunteer organization and keeping
the model that we had originally set out. The people who have come to our doors, and will
continue to come, are serious professionals, not licking envelopes but doing serious work,
researching corporate partnerships, creating social media, writing blog posts and more.
It’s incredible for an organization run by volunteers to have such a large impact. Here
is what Barbara feels keep us together. Passion for our work. Realizing that what we are
doing is of tremendous value and is needed in the world. All of us realize that to be truly
valuable human beings in the world we have to give back in some way. Barbara feels blessed in
many ways — professionally, financially, family, where she lives— and while there was no
concept to give back in the way she did, she feels that things cross your path and you need to
keep your eyes open and see if it is a new path to walk down. She has always done that, and if
she had not, Wells Bring Hope would not exist. “When you think had I made a different decision,
a half million people might not have clean water, that people would die, kids would die.”
The one thing that keeps Barbara going is the people we serve. These beautiful children
and woman who have suffered so severely, walking for water, pulling up water, the pain of
losing a child and knowing that every time we raise money for a well, we can help a village,
make the lives of the people better, transforming their lives for generations to come. This comes
back to the people we serve, we serve them. They are our motivation for doing the work we do.
I thought it would be fun to ask Barbara her mantra or favorite quote. While she has
many, there are two that she chose to share.
“Surrender to what is.” This is it, accept it. That concept is very different than quitting. It means
to see what is before you, accept it, move on and survive. Don’t let life be desolate.
For her second guiding force, Barbara is a great believer in balance. She teaches her
granddaughters that everything in life is about balance. Many of us strive for balance in our lives
and 99% of the time we are still out of balance. As we observe ourselves, we should step
outside, look in and notice that we are unbalanced, and instead of beating ourselves up over it,
gently make a shift in one small way to try and restore the balance.
Goldberg’s one piece of advice for someone trying to make a difference on their own
would be to not be discouraged because there is always another day. If something doesn’t
happen one day, just keep on going. If you are true to your purpose, and all your energy goes to
achieving your goal, she believes you will get there. Yes, there will be obstacles, but evaluate
and work to get past and around them and just keep on going.
To end our discussion I asked Barbara what would be the one thing she would like to say
to our volunteers and supporters: “THANK YOU!!!!!”
“We truly could not do what we do without our volunteers. This is the reality of who we are and
what we do. I really hope the experience they derive from working with us will be of value to
them, I truly believe it will be, in some way or other in the future. If nothing else, it allows our
volunteers to know what it feels like to help people in the poorest country in the world, to know
how by with us, and you couldn’t do anything more meaningful, how lucky they are, how lucky
we are to have them, to find a cause to enrich their, and our, lives.”
Footnote: Wells Bring Hope is extremely fortunate to be an all-volunteer organization, with 100%
of donations going to drill wells. We could not do this without our corporate sponsor (Panda)
covering the operational costs of our one paid volunteer Kate Cusimano, Director of Operations.
We also could not do this without the support of World Vision who matches our donations and
drills the wells.