Category Archives: Ethiopia

The Water Project: Spreading Awareness Through Bake Sales & Pizza

Written by Joy Gursky, President of the Water Project Club at Zoo Magnet High School, Los Angeles, California

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Club members Maddie, Joy, Yanelyn, and Ruby all set and ready for their bake sale

Last summer, a viral online challenge known as the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” began circulating online. People who participated in the viral challenge had good intentions, but every time I watched a video of someone dumping ice and water on themselves, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the fact that Los Angeles was- and still is- experiencing one of the worst droughts in the city’s history. Furthermore, there are 783 million people around the world who do not have access to clean water.

So, instead of complaining about the injustice of the situation, I decided to at least attempt to do something to make the slightest dent in the issue. I established my school’s Water Project Club to support  Good Neighbors’ Water For Life Project. The goal is to raise money to build wells in developing countries where local people have no clean water. Did you know that 80% of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water sanitation? That’s a scary fact!


Derrick and Virginia support the Water Project!

I founded the club with fifty-five dollars worth of pizza to get the ball rolling (thanks, Mom) and an overwhelming fear of public speaking. The first few meetings were painful, but I stuttered my way through them. Surprisingly, my personal chapter of the club has been very successful from the beginning. We’ve raised $400 through bake sales, created our own t-shirts, and managed to spread awareness surrounding the global water crisis.


Delicious goodies!

Overall, the Water Project Club has been a phenomenal experience for me. It’s taught me that I want to center my life around serving other people through international travel and aid. In some ways, I really feel like the club has helped me grow up because I’ve learned how privileged I am to live in a place where I never need to worry about where to get something that’s absolutely essential to survival: water.

Thank you for starting such an important club at your school, Joy; and huge thanks to your mom for the pizza and support!  Learn more about how YOU can help people get access to clean water by clicking here

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I Made ‘COFFEE MEETS WATER’ Happen: Meet Marcus!


We’re excited to introduce you to Marcus, another one of our Coffee Meets Water supporters! Marcus is an Aircraft Mechanic in Vacaville, CA who likes history, economics, and fishing (although he doesn’t like eating fish!).

We asked him a few questions, and want to share his answers with you!


Q: Hey, Marcus! As you know, the name of this campaign was Coffee Meets Water. You told us you drink coffee – but how do you like it?

A: I like it with a LOT of sugar, and some cream. Sweet is good!

Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

A: I love being outside – geocaching, camping, hiking and anything that will take me outdoors.


Q: What’s something interesting about you that not a lot of people know?

A: I have a dog named YOLO.


Q: Before donating to this campaign, you told us that you did a lot of research into the cause and the project’s needs. What made you finally decide to support Coffee Meets Water?

A: I’ve always wanted to volunteer in Ethiopia, but haven’t had the chance. The idea of helping so many people with a simple donation really didn’t seem like too much to ask and it seemed like the benefits definitely outweighed the amount of money. When I received the thank you card and photos from the kids and families that my donation helped, I knew I’d do it again.


Thank you so much, Marcus! Interested in learning more about our water projects around the world? Visit our website here. And to see how our Coffee Meets Water campaign helped thousands get access to clean water, watch our video here.

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I Made ‘COFFEE MEETS WATER’ Happen: Meet Jenn!


Last fall, we launched a campaign called Coffee Meets Water, to fix broken water wells in Sidama, Ethiopia, the largest coffee-producing region in the country. In this community (and in many around the world), women and children walk hours each day to dirty rivers and streams to collect water for cooking, drinking, and cleaning.

But thanks to our amazing supporters, we were able to reach our campaign’s goal and not only fix broken wells in Sidama, but also teach the local community residents how to fix them in the future!

We’re excited to highlight some of our Coffee Meets Water campaign supporters, because without them, bringing clean water to over 2,000 people in Sidama couldn’t have been possible!


Meet Jenn, an attorney clerk and student at California State University, Los Angeles. She loves traveling, movies, and is studying Criminal Justice with the goal of becoming an FBI Investigator! We asked her a few questions to learn more about her and what compelled her to join our cause!

Q: Hey, Jenn! As you know, this campaign is called Coffee Meets Water, so we have to ask the most obvious question: do you drink coffee? 

A: I used to never like the taste of coffee. When I was in 6th grade, my best friend’s grandparents offered us black coffee on a camping trip. Who offers black, cheap camping coffee to an eleven year old?! I remember being scarred by the taste, and never wanting to go near the stuff again. When I got older, I gave it a second chance, and now I love it! And not even the really sweet kind. I never knew real, authentic coffee could taste so delicious!

Q: What do you love to do in your free time?   

A: Traveling is by far my biggest passion in life! When I’m feeling stagnant, I like to go online and look up random flights and fantasize about all the places I dream about visiting one day. I love meeting random people, sharing stories with them, laughing, and coming home with memories that I will treasure forever. I love to explore and learn about different cultures that I would never be able to experience if I were to otherwise stay at home all the time.


Q: What’s something interesting about you that not a lot of people know?  

My dream is to be the leader of an international campaign against human trafficking. Sometimes I think it’s a farfetched dream, but then I think about all the incredible people who have made such an impact in this world and I realize that I have just the same potential as they did! I know I have a long way to go, but since beginning my studies, I’ve wanted to do something about the international sex slave trade. It’s a crime that has been happening for years, millions of victims are voiceless, and it’s almost like we don’t realize that it’s even happening. I think about the women, children, and men that cry and pray and beg for someone to help them and I want to be that person who saves them! Putting a complete end to human trafficking may seem like an impossible dream for one girl from California to conquer, but deep down inside I tell myself that it’s possible. I don’t tell a lot of people about this dream because they will probably think I’m crazy. But that’s how my teachers have inspired me: be crazy enough to dream and aspire to accomplish things in life that you’ve always wanted.


Q: Lastly, why did you decide to support our Coffee Meets Water campaign?

A: My friend, Jake Kilroy, posted the Coffee Meets Water campaign video on his Facebook page, and I remember being instantly intrigued by the campaign. When I read more about the broken wells in Ethiopia and the villages that I had the potential to help, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to participate.

My monetary donation seemed like a minuscule effort in comparison to the big picture. I’m just a girl who typed in her credit card info, hoping to help out. And let me just say, I would do it ten times over again! Getting that photo of everyone gathered around the well with my name on it gave me the biggest feeling of gratification. I almost started to cry, I was so happy to see everyone’s smiling faces! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing campaign effort.


No, thank YOU, Jenn, for your support and compassion! Interested in learning more about our water projects? Visit our website here, and watch the highlights of our Coffee Meets Water trip here.

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#CoffeeMeetsWater: An Evening of Photography & Film


In support of World Water Day, which is celebrated annually on March 22nd, we held a special event on March 19th  to showcase photography and film from our most recent trip to Sidama, Ethiopia.  On this trip, in partnership with Let it Flow, we repaired broken water wells for thousands of people, and taught the local communities how to maintain and fix them on their own in the future.

Did you know that 783 million people worldwide do not have access to clean and safe water, and that 43 million of them live in Ethiopia? Through our photography and film exhibit, we were able to share the journey that the people of Sidama faced to restore clean water, so that over 2,000 people in their community no longer have to walk hours to collect water from  dirty rivers and streams.

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Held at The G2 Gallery in Venice, CA, the evening consisted of drinks, light bites, and coffee from one of our campaign partners Demitasse! And special thanks to our friends at Pop Art Snacks and Yum Yum Donuts Lynwood for their contributions of insanely delicious gourmet popcorn and tasty donut holes that perfectly complimented our film screening and coffee station.

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And a HUGE thank you to our partners 925 FILMS and See Mimi Go for their truly amazing film and photography. To see more of Mimi’s photos, visit her on Instagram; and see the film here:

Check out some of the fun photos our guests took throughout the evening and at the photo booth, and follow along on Instagram and #CoffeeMeetsWater to see more photos!



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Want to learn more about our water projects around the world? Click here to help bring clean drinking water to thousands of more people throughout Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi and Chad.


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