Category Archives: Water For Life

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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OUR LA BIG 5K TEAM: MEET SARAH!

Next up in our Meet the LA Big 5K Team series is Sarah, an 11th grader who loves watching soccer. She’s really involved in social issues at her high school, and was super excited to join our team. She answered a few questions for us:

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Q: Hey Sarah! Have you ever run in a race? How’s your training going?

This is my first time running in a race! Most juniors are done with PE credits, but I’m staying in my JROTC Program for all 4 years, so it’s easy for me to practice running regularly! My friend Max (who is also in JROTC and also in The Net Project club), and I have been running together as well. Training’s a lot more fun when you do it with your friends, so I’m really thankful for JROTC!

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

As nerdy as it may sound, I enjoy reading in my free time! I’ve always liked reading, because reading a work by a talented writer can introduce you to so many different feelings, stories, and opinions.

Q: What’s your favorite subject in school?

I do enjoy English class, but I would say Physics is my favorite class this year! At first I was wary because it seemed like a difficult subject, but it’s interesting to see how some scientists managed to explain (a few) workings of the world with a few simple variables. Physics is immediately applicable, so whenever I learn something new like how an object rotates, I’m surprised at how often I can immediately connect that concept to things I notice in everyday life.

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Q: What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

I was born with 27 teeth instead of 28!

Q: You’ll be running the LA Big 5K race to support The Net Project, but what are your thoughts about Project Good Sisters?

Although I’m running the LA Big5K Race to raise money for The Net Project at Van Nuys High School, I am a firm supporter of Project Good Sisters and its message of female education and empowerment. I recently read a book called “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in my English class, which covered how female empowerment was essential to the economic/social/etc well-being of a country. Its absolutely unfair that someone’s sex dictates what one can or can not do. Women are a wealth of untapped talent, intelligence, and compassion and I think we–people who have the resources to help out–should work to first, make it even a possibility for women to pursue education and second, do away with the stigma attached to female independence to safely encourage more women to take advantage of their academic opportunities. A study in “Half The Sky” actually dealt with the same cause that Project Good Sisters is advocating; except, in that case, they didn’t fully anticipate the stigma attached to female menstruation and how it prevented girls from attending school regularly. The fact that Good Neighbors thought of ways to comprehensively approach this problem, including book bags to hide the sanitary pads and even outhouses to take care of their business with dignity, won my support. I’m glad Good Neighbors is addressing this often-ignored problem and helping out girls my age receive education.

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Q: What’s The Net Project?

My friends, Hwi Soo Kim (Van Nuys High School), John Kim and Steven Lee (Fairfax High School), and I started The Net Project this school year. The purpose of The Net Project is to send insecticide-coated nets to help prevent malaria in Malawi, Africa. We realized that malaria drugs were too expensive (cheap for tourists, but definitely not for the average Malawian), and resulted in drug-resistant mosquitoes that were even more dangerous. And surprisingly, after research, we found out that something as simple as a net saved lives. Finally, research also showed us that malaria isn’t just a health problem; it’s more than that. For example, Africa loses 12 BILLION dollars in productivity EACH year due to malaria. People sometimes say that fundraising for a disease like malaria is like throwing money down a hole because the community is often unreceptive to the programs that are trying to be initiated. However, Good Neighbors has already established a deep connection with communities in Malawi through their constant and varied aid (such as through building water wells through Water For Life and now, Good Sisters) and thus will be providing welcomed aid to a community whose trust they have already earned. This year, The Net Project as a whole is working together to raise $3000, enough to support an entire community with nets.

Q: What’s special about The Net Project?

I personally think The Net Project is special because as a high school club, it depends on young people being involved. When young people are involved in a humanitarian cause such as this, we’re not only helping others, we’re helping ourselves. Through technology, the world is becoming more “connected” and “globalized”, but often that same technology can make one feel insignificant in the face of the big, quite overwhelming world that exists out there. Helping out in events such as these reminds us that we too are significant, so I really hope that my club members and I will learn the valuable lesson of empathy and our own self-worth through our events this year.

Thanks Sarah, and congratulations on starting such a special project in high school! To support Sarah, please visit her page here and check out the rest of our team here! Want to join? There’s still time – just head over here!

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Flowers for Water

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Here’s a sweet Throwback Thursday for you all: in February, the amazing students at Irvine High School raised $250 by selling corsages and boutonnieres for their Winter Formal!

Good Neighbors Club President Grace Yoon and her mom handmade sets for their friends and classmates, and the club members promoted pre-orders in the weeks leading up to the dance. Eleven couples placed orders and got to choose their flowers and ribbon colors ahead of time.  The money raised will go directly to our Water For Life project, which builds clean water wells for communities in Africa and the Caribbean.

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset The students putting on their corsages before heading off to the dance! How cute do they all look? (Takes us right back to those high school days.) And because they’re awesome, these students are planning to host this fundraiser again for their Spring Dance and Prom, too!

Read more about our other Good Neighbors Club high school students here.

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WATCH: Water For Life

Our 7-minute video will forever change the way you look at water. For millions of men, women, and children, clean water is not a concept they’re familiar with—in fact, they have never even seen it before.

We went to Chad, Africa last year to document our Water For Life project. Watch how a clean water well can bring a village back to life.

 

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