Ethiopia 2014 - Cindy's Story
My trip to Ethiopia in April 2014 with WaterAid changed my life and the way I looked at water usage in this world. I started fundraising in 2010 for WaterAid and when I learned of this cause, how could I not help? It made so much sense to me: helping communities get clean water and teaching people about water sanitation meant sustainable ways to help people stay alive. I had many generous donors that shared the same sentiments for helping people and I wanted to thank them by going on this journey and share with them where their donations were going.
It was an emotionally charged and humbling journey, I learned so much along the way and Ethiopia welcomed us with warm and open arms. The interactions with the local NGO, aka our partners, were one of my favourite parts of my trip. Here was a passionate group of people in Ethiopia strategically planning where the money was most needed and what would make the biggest impact. Their openness to answer any questions (no matter how silly or absurd) took my understanding of where the donations went to a whole new level. Learning things like “mobilizing the community”: a process before they start any water projects to have the community “emotionally and financially invest” in the project so it is sustainable. To other hard topics such as what these water projects mean for women: when there are clean water sources near their communities, women are less prone to rape or attacks by wild animals when they would walk over 6 km to fetch water for their families.
As my understanding grew, my passion and commitment for raising money for WaterAid grew as well. Coming back and sharing my photos and experiences with people have connected me to people who have a thirst for knowledge and curiosity for helping those that cannot help themselves. It was important for me to come back and continue to share my experiences and raise awareness that clean water projects means life and opportunity for women and children.