Posted by: norapillard | April 23, 2013

9th Annual Walk for Water – 287 people and $23,000 raised

Walk pic 2

Well, our 9th Annual Walk for Water is in the books! We welcomed 287 people to Villanova University for the Walk for Water last Sunday and, together, we raised $23,000 for Waslala. Thank you all so much for your support!!

In addition to sharing the results of our event and some pictures, I wanted to pass along some excerpts of Matt Nespoli’s welcome talk. Matt welcomed everyone to the event with a short intro talk that described how Water for Waslala got started, what we’ve accomplished, and why we continue to focus our energy and resources on this cause.

Walk pic 5

How we got started…

So, starting from the beginning, Water for Waslala began out of what could be called a two-week backpacking trip to Nicaragua in 2002. I was a sophomore at Villanova, and joined a group of 9 other Villanova students, including Nora Reynolds, our VP who is sitting right here, on a trip to Waslala that summer.

So for me, as a 19 year old kid, all of this way very eye opening, but nothing affected me as much as seeing this: we saw women and children everywhere taking contaminated water from local streams and using it as their drinking water. This is what nearly all Waslalans do to get their water for the day. Now, I don’t know what you think or feel when you [hear this], but for me I can’t look at this photo and not get upset or feel uncomfortable. Seeing this image for me was life-changing, and was the spark that set Water for Waslala into motion.

Walk pic 5

What we’ve accomplished…

Now, what I want to stress is that Water for Waslala is not about me or about Nora or Justin [Knabb], or any one person. It’s about all of us in this room. It is all of you and the time and money you’ve donated over the years, including today, that have made Water for Waslala successful. All Nora and I had when we started was an idea, as aspiration, a vision. But without all of you stepping up and helping us, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything. So the success of Water for Waslala is your success – you are the reason 2,500 people in a place 3,000 miles away are drinking clean water outside their homes and schools right now.

So together, we have profoundly improved the lives of a lot of people! Think about 2,500 people – that’s ten times more people than those in this room that are now drinking clean water.

Walk pic 3Why?

I wanted to finish by answering the question: why? why should you continue to help the people of Waslala, and this cause as opposed to any other?

To me, it comes down to the following simple values that define Water for Waslala – our core beliefs:

  • Responsibility: We believe that we have a responsibility to help the Waslalan people to live with dignity, for one simple reason: the only reason we have clean water to drink and the Waslalan people don’t is because we were born in the US, and they were born in Nicaragua… We believe that this is just unacceptable, and we have a responsibility to give of our resources so they can gain access to the most basic services – like having clean water to drink. This feeling of responsibility is the biggest driver of why Water for Waslala continues today.
  • Purpose: we believe that helping others is one of the most fulfilling ways we can use our limited time in life, and we each derive a deep sense of satisfaction and joy serving the people of Waslala.
  • Community: we believe that small organizations that are laser focused on understanding and helping with a specific need in a specific area of the world are more effective than organizations that try and solve every problem or help many different groups of needy communities around the world. We also believe that a small group of committed individuals: all of us in this room, is all it takes to create profound change in our world.
  • Global triage: We believe that when thinking about who to help in this world, it’s important to focus on the people most in need of help, and on the causes where we can make the biggest difference. Which is why we’ve focused in rural areas of Waslala, some of the poorest places on the planet, and truly a forgotten part of the world. There are very few organizations helping this part of the world, so it is not an exaggeration to say that if we don’t help the people of Waslala with their water crisis, no one likely ever will. Also, we believe it makes sense to focus our limited charitable resources on areas where we can have the biggest bang for our buck, and water is clearly that issue: for $100, the cost of a nice dinner out for two, we can help a Waslalan man, woman or child gain access to clean drinking water for a lifetime – which means that person will no longer have to spend hours every day fetching water, or have to suffer from waterborne illness that negatively affects his efforts in school or on the farm. We believe that this is an investment well worth the cost, and the best issue to focus on for that reason.

Walk pic 1

I want to thank you again for coming and for supporting us, and I hope to continue to see you at future walk for waters and working with you in other ways to make our dream of ending the water crisis in Waslala a reality.

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