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How, When & Where to Volunteer Travel

And an intro to Water Ambassadors Canada

At GoGirlfriend, we’ve written extensively on volunteer travel (voluntourism) – from unique and personal experiences to how to choose the best trip for you. And we’ve loved all the stories from readers like Olivia Millwood who traveled to Haiti with her father and contributors like Shannon O’Donnell alike, inspiring us to get out into the world and explore while doing good.

But I have a confession to make – I’ve never ventured down this road personally. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to but more about how. How to find the time… How to find the right organization…How to find the sponsors…

I’ve always had more questions than answers and because it’s easy to put things off when you’re scared, nervous, full of questions, that’s exactly what I did.

clean water means healthy livesBut then my brother journeyed with Water Ambassador’s Canada. And I watched him grown and learn – all while sharing his gifts with people who desperately needed them. A bud of inspiration began to blossom. I started talking to friends and family about how I could do this with him, still finding more roadblocks than answers.

During a dinner on a recent trip to Vegas, a friend of mine listened to me whine (yes, it was whining) and when he’d heard enough, he stopped me and said he was going to connect the dots very simply. “I’m going to give you $1,000 and you’re going to book the time off work, ask others to help and you’re going to go,” he said.

I was dumbfounded but he very calmly told me that some people help others by volunteering (and traveling if need be) and some help by funding those ventures. We were sympatico, he said.

Water Ambassadors Canada

celebrating access to clean water How much does clean water mean to you? Did you know contaminated drinking water is the biggest cause of death worldwide.

On October 29th, I’ll be flying to Nicaragua with my husband and brother to work with Water Ambassadors to build and repair wells, install water filtration and chlorination systems, construct bio-sand filters and teach health and hygiene to local people. There are approximately 70,000 broken and contaminated wells in Nicaragua.

To do this trip – and to support the cause throughout the year – we need to raise $10,000.

repairing wells in communitiesWater Ambassadors is a faith-based, non-profit organization committed to providing clean, safe drinking water to desperately poor people in developing countries.

When you give communities clean water, you’re able to help in a multitude of areas of their lives. Healthy kids are able to go to school, which always leads to a better a life. Healthy adults are able to work to support their families.

support us with Ambassadors CanadaTo donate, please click on this link: WaterAmabassadors.org and choose the trip on Nicaragua Oct 29, 2016, type my name into the individual support field and select your donation amount. If you would prefer to call with a credit card donation, please let them know my name and trip: 1-877-988-4688

Any amount is gratefully accepted, whether you can give $5, $50, $500 or $5,000.

Global water crisis in numbers

  • 1.1 billion people (1/6th of the world's population) lack access to clean water.
  • 2.6 billion people (40% of the world's population) lack adequate sanitation (toilets).
  • access to water doesn't mean its clean1.5 billion people suffer from illness due to water-borne parasites such as worms, protozoa and bacteria.
  • Lack of clean water can impeed the growth of a child by up to 15%.
  • 6,000 children die every day from illness caused by water-borne diseases. In the last 10 years more kids have died from diarrhea diseases than all people killed in armed conflict since WW II.
  • 30,000 people die every day because they drink contaminated water. The horrible Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 killed 300,000 people. (Every 10 days 300,000 people around the world die from drinking bad water).
  • Half of all the hospital beds around the world are occupied by patients suffering from water-borne disease.
  • 80% of all disease and sickness in the world is caused by inadequate water supply or inadequate sanitation.
  • healthy lives deliver opportunitiesIn developing countries around the globe, women and children must walk many miles to get water every day. The United Nations estimates that on average each person carries a container that weighs 40 pounds when full and they walk an average of 4 miles (18 kg - 6 km). This is very time consuming and prevents these people from attending school or working and leaves women vulnerable to assault and spinal deformities.
  • Sadly, much of the water they find to drink and cook with we wouldn't use to wash our driveways.
  • The first step in sustainable development is establishing a reliable source of clean water.
  • The first step in successfully fighting HIV-AIDS is administering medications with disease-free clean water.
  • "Giving clean water to rural villages" has been ranked as the most effective program to relieve poverty by World Development Economists.

Have you ever traveled for a volunteer organization? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below or follow us on Twitter or Facebook and let’s talk!

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