Thirst Project Comes to Besant Hill

Youth Activist group aims to end water crisis in Swaziland

Thirst Project is a  non-profit movement of thousands of students who have joined the fight against the global water crisis. On Monday, February 5th,  Besant Hill School was honored to welcome a group of socially conscious members of the Thirst Project, who presented on their work around the world and their new initiative to provide clean drinking water to every citizen of Swaziland.

The Thirst Project builds freshwater wells in developing countries through the education and activation of students. It is the world’s largest youth water organization, with over 1700 projects in 13 countries. Over 285,000 people have gained access to fresh water as a result of the Thirst Project. As part of their nationwide school tour, the Thirst Project presented a high-energy, multimedia show to inform Besant Hill School students about the global water crisis and inspire them to try and end it.

The Thirst Project focuses on access to drinking water, which directly improves health and sanitation in communities around the world. Waterborne diseases kill more children every year than AIDS, Malaria, and all world violence combined. Small children typically do not have strong enough immune systems to fight waterborne diseases like cholera, dysentery, or schistosomiasis.

By providing a community with safe drinking water, disease rates can drop by up to 88% virtually overnight. Child mortality rates can drop up to 90% as well. Clean water also plays an incredibly critical role in effectively treating and managing HIV/AIDS in rural communities. Swaziland, for example, has the single-highest-density population of HIV/AIDS in the world. People with HIV/AIDS may have access to medical treatment or antiretroviral medication, but if they are still forced to drink dirty water from contaminated sources the diseases in the water may actually kill them faster than AIDS itself.

Women and children spend on average six to eight hours each day walking to fetch water in Swaziland. The average distance that women and children in developing communities walk to fetch water is 3.75 miles. The time children spend collecting water keeps them from going to school and getting an education. It prevents women from working outside of the home and contributing to the family finances. Access to clean drinking water in many cases breaks the poverty cycle and allows for significant human development.

Thirst Project representatives gave a great presentation, mapped out ways for students to get involved and stayed to chat over lunch.

Visit Thirst Project