Throughout the world, it generally falls to the women of the village to find and fetch water. The average trek is 6.2 kilometers, carrying heavy containers, and often waiting  for hours each day for an allotment, being charged gouging prices.  All for water their families need for drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning. Often the water is contaminated, even deadly. In these instances, they face an impossible choice – certain death without water or possible death from illness. So they spend more time back at the village boiling this water or placing it through ancient sand filtration units which fail to make the water completely safe.

Once they are old enough, girls join this effort. It becomes the female role to deal with water most of their waking hours.

Women also struggle most from the lack of adequate sanitation, the often unspoken part of the water and sanitation crisis. The sanitation crisis for women can be summed up in one word: ‘dignity.’ Around the world, fewer than one person in three has access to a toilet. In many countries, it is not acceptable for a woman to relieve herself during the day. They wait hours for nightfall, just to have privacy. This impacts health and puts their safety at risk. About half of all girls worldwide attend schools without toilets. The lack of privacy causes many girls to drop out when they reach puberty.

The dual aspects of the water crisis – lack of water and of sanitation – lock women in a cycle of poverty. They cannot attend school; they cannot earn an income.

Our contribution to a solution

When we select a village in which to place a solar-powered water purification unit, we work with the community elders to establish a tiny “water utility”. Preferably run by a council of women, thissocial business will be responsible for the maintenance schedule and commerce of their new water resource. Each unit, capable of producing 5000 gallons a day at a cost of $0.0013 per gallon, provides enough water for the villager’s basic needs, and can provide surplus capacity that can be sold. H2OpenDoors includes with the installation thousands of aluminum water bottles that can be filled and sold for as low as 50 cents (US). This is the beginning of important commerce. In addition, we seek to engage microfinancing solutions so their business can have access to capital and grow. Around the world, women are coming together to address their own needs for water and sanitation. Their strength and courage transforms communities. H2OpenDoors along with Rotary, hopes to empower the village residents themselves to tackle their own water and sanitation issues, while we focus on our mantra: water, education, peace.

Girls can go to school again. Women can operate a water business, rather than be human oxen carrying water, and having their day tied up in the water process. We’ll help one village at a time. Our inaugural effort at the HuayJaKan village, comprised of 2500 Lisu and Lahu hill tribe folk, is just the beginning of an annual fundraising drive to provide immediate and innovative solutions. Their water source is polluted with toxic levels of fluoride and E.Coli bacteria. Help us purchase two SunSpring units to start the ball rolling for these folks. Our installation date is February 2013. Our fundraising culminates at the CWENCH party in November 2012. We’re not drilling wells or providing other solutions that last 2 or 3 years before a retrofit or re-design is necessary.. We are purifying the contaminated water sources at villages around the world, and within 3 hours of our arriving onsite at a village with one of these self-contained units, running water is available, for the next 10 years. You can donate right here on H2OpenDoors.org and you can buy some terrific swag in the H2O Store.