ALPHARETTA, Ga. — March 22 will mark the United Nation’s annual World Water Day, a day reminding us of the 780 million people in the world who do not have access to running water. However, this issue hits a bit closer to home because of the Alpharetta nonprofit organization Partners for Care, which plans to deliver 9,500 water packs to Kenyan natives by March 25.
The water packs contort to body shapes and have straps on them so that women can carry their babies when walking back from the water source. This helps prevent spinal injuries and problems in the long run.
In Kenya, more than half of the population does not have access to running water. Women and children walk long distances every day to find water and carry it back home (usually on their backs) to their families. Prior to water packs, Kenyans used Jerry Cans to carry water from water sources. Unfortunately, these cans often were contaminated to begin with and engendered waterborne illnesses that impacted children, especially. However, the water packs provide clean water because they can be sanitized using solar energy, which kills off many bacteria, e-coli in particular.
“We have always taught Kenyan natives solar sanitation,” said Partners for Care founder Connie Cheren. “Our whole goal is to create a culture of self-sustainability so they don’t have to rely on us for their health and can in turn make a difference for their own people.”
To date, Partners for Care has hand-delivered 10,000 water packs in Kenya.
The organization teamed up with Greif Inc., the largest manufacturer of packaging, to provide water packs for the Kenyans. PFC is also currently campaigning to raise money for 1,000 more water packs.
“We solely rely on donations to provide for the Kenyans, and all proceeds go toward their needs,” Cheren said. “For every $10 donated to buy a water pack, a family of four in Kenya can be provided with clean water.”
The water packs have become a part of the culture in Kenyan slums. Many restaurants now hang up water packs so that people can have access to cold and clean water.
“For the Kenyans, water from the water packs is their running water,” Cheren said.