We've Got Your Back(side)
It's been almost two years since COVID-19 had shut down the world. And while it seems like the worst of it is behind us here in Canada, this is most definitely not the case for many others still.
Today, a staggering 4.2 billion people - more than half the global population - lack safely managed sanitation. And over half of them - 2.4 billion people - do not have access to washrooms or toilets at all.
Let's sit on that for a moment. And consider what it means.
It means that diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio are all more likely to spread in places where there is already a lack of medical facilities.
It means that children - all of whom deserve to thrive - are instead deprived of dignity, safety and opportunity as they struggle to access sanitation services.
It means that for many girls, the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty is significantly diminished as they are forced to miss school during their periods for lack of menstrual hygiene management.
And while this may seem disheartening, there is good news! Turns out we already have solutions - water filters, hand washing stations, water wells and of course - the mighty toilet!
That's where you and I come in. By giving to Compassion's Water and Sanitation Fund - we can ensure that children in the world have clean water to drink, the ability to practice good hygiene and protection from deadly diseases.
We can restore hope and dignity to the impoverished and vulnerable.
We can let those in greatest need know that we very truly (and very literally) have got their back(side).
Will you join me, friends, in changing the world - one toilet at a time?
Feel free to pass this message on to others who may also want to make a life-saving gift.
My Personal Blog
Transformation Through Transaction
Another way to spend money today.
Don't get me wrong. I like a good Black Friday deal. There is a certain euphoria that comes from knowing I didn't pay the full price.
But the reality is..the full price is always paid. And the question becomes by whom and in what form.
So today, of all days, I want to encourage you to choose expenditure for empowerment.
Change before consumption. Transformation through transaction.
When you give to Compassion's Water and Sanitation Fund, you are choosing exactly that.
Every water filter provided saves a child from preventable, premature death.
Every hand washing station gifted restores health and hope to vulnerable families.
Every washroom built gives dignity to communities and empowers them through job creation.
Every water well installed ensures that children are learning in the safety of schools rather than risking their lives on their long trek to fetch water.
A @who study conducted in 2012 calculated that every $1 USD invested in sanitation yielded a return of $5.50 USD in lower health costs, increased productivity and fewer premature deaths.
Friends - will you create transformation through your transactions today?
#blackfridaygiving #givegood #dogood #cleanwater #sanitation #giftsofcompassion
by Andrea Lau on Fri, Nov 26, 2021 @ 9:27 AM
When My Worst Is Someone's Best?
What is the worst toilet experience you have ever had?
During my travels, I have had some very "unique" washroom experiences. I still remember (and I wish that I don't) the worst "bathroom" I have ever visited. I will not share with you all the revolting details. Suffice to say that I used every inch of will power to make sure things don't come out of both ends.
What is really a punch to my gut, though, is knowing that the one bad washroom experience I had out of absolute desperation is already a daily provision that so many are desperate for.
You can well imagine the impact that this lack of latrines have on children - more than just serious disease and health concerns, they face a loss of dignity. Girls, in particular, face even greater challenges - having to miss school and meals and opportunities during their periods. Where public washrooms are available, their safety is often at risk.
Health. Safety. Opportunity. Dignity - that's what a gift of toilet actually gives.
How about you, friends? Can I encourage you to make a gift today to Compassion's Water and Sanitation Fund to make sure that instead of "worst potty experiences", everyone can share about their best presents gifted and received?
by Andrea Lau on Wed, Nov 24, 2021 @ 8:10 AM
Paying it Forward - When Treats and Toilets Meet
Flushing away some old traditions to make room for some new.
For over a decade, I have made little Christmas treat boxes for my colleagues. Handcrafted from extra card stock and recycled cards and filled with simple sweets and a handwritten note. A small way of thanking them for always having my back.
This year's treat box is a little different.
Toilet-shaped boxes will contain a note to let them know a donation has been made in their honor to @compassion.ca 's Water and Sanitation Fund to help with the construction of safe washrooms.
Because there isn't a more meaningful way to thank them for having my back than by paying it forward...and showing someone else that I very literally have their back(side) as well.
Friends - will you do the same? There are currently 2.4 billion people who don't have access to washrooms or toilets. Who need to know that you and I stand (or sit!) with them. That we understand the gravity of their plight and that we are willing to do something about it.
So don't 'stall' (see what I did there? ;)) - give the gift of toilets today to restore hope and dignity to the most vulnerable communities.
by Andrea Lau on Mon, Nov 22, 2021 @ 8:05 PM
Weary, Worn and still Withstanding
Back in 2019, I visited a safari in Tanzania. I was completely mesmerized by the hippopotamus pond. The hippos would be fully submerged, but once in a while, their heads would bob up so they can take a breath. It's like the real life version of whack-a-mole. Except they are not moles and you do not whack them.
A few weeks ago, I went on a virtual trip to a Compassion centre in Ghana. I saw a very similar scene, but instead of hippos there were cows. I didn't think much of it.
And then our Compassion host explained that, until recently, that was a primary source of water for nearby communities.
Meaning that the water the cows bathe in is the water that vulnerable children and their families use to quench their thirst and wash their hands.
I could not look away.
Friends, I will be honest with you. I did not want to do this fundraiser. I am overwhelmed and discouraged and tired.
But that picture reminded me that there are children and families - who walk up to 10km each way to fetch dirty water for drinking and washing - they need our heavy hearts and tired hands.
That same community now has 10 new toilets, hand pumps and access to clean water within minutes of their doorsteps. All thanks to people like you who refuse to look away even in the midst of your own daily struggles.
Please continue to make a difference.
by Andrea Lau on Sat, Nov 20, 2021 @ 12:24 PM
A Different Kind of Black Friday
Has anyone else noticed that ads for Black Friday deals seem to start earlier each year? I'm not gonna lie - I've fallen for a few of them already. I just can't seem to walk away from a good deal.
If you're like me, and love knowing you've found the best value, this post is for you.
Recently, I was reading through the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. And my first thought was: it's not possible. These goals are too big, too many and too hard.
But then I discovered this amazing little fact:
By funding clean water initiatives, we make significant progress towards all of them.
That's right. Clean water is one of the strongest foundations we have in building a better world.
So when we give to Compassion's Water and Sanitation Fund, we are not only providing accessible and reliable water supplies to the world's most vulnerable. We are, in fact, helping to transform our world into one that ensures better health, promotes gender equality, creates fair work and supports sustainable communities. One that will see zero hunger and an end to poverty.
Doesn't that blow your mind just a little?
This is the 6 for 1 deal you won't find at any Black Friday Sale.
So what do you say, friends? Will you partner with me this holiday season to combat consumerism and create positive change? Because your gift of water filters and water wells can do just that.
by Andrea Lau on Thu, Nov 18, 2021 @ 9:28 AM
Fifteen Seconds To Claim or Change a Life
Let's play a game.
How many waterborne diseases can you name in 15 seconds? GO!
15 seconds doesn't seem like a lot of time, does it?
And yet, every 15 seconds, a child dies of waterborne disease.
Cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, E.coli, giardia, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, to name a few.
Diseases which can be prevented using simple, high-impact solutions - water filters, water wells, hand-washing stations.
And so I want to suggest two 15-second challenges to you today:
1. Every time you drink a glass of clean water, give thanks and pray for those who are still vulnerable to waterborne diseases
2. Save a life by donating $15 to @compassionca 's Water and Sanitation Fund (this might take more than 15 seconds but most likely less than 150 ;))
by Andrea Lau on Tue, Nov 16, 2021 @ 4:08 PM
When Not All Is Well and Good
Have you ever tried to draw water from a well?
It's novel. And fun.
When you don't need to do it everyday.
Or multiple times a day.
I tried it once in 2002. It was hard. I have photos - with my face flushed red and not a single strand of hair in place - to prove just how hard it is.
Ten years after that, while on a trip to Asia to retrace our roots, we met a headmistress at the school dad attended as a kid. Gracious host that she was, she accompanied me to use the facilities. As I came out from my stall (thankful that there were at least stalls), I saw her lugging a bucket of water, her petite frame straining as she tried to lift it towards me. If filling a bucket was challenging for a twenty-something me a decade ago, I could not imagine what it was like for this aging seventy-plus angel of a woman.
Flabbergasted, I reached out to help her. But she declined.
"No, no. I brought it for you to wash your hands".
Getting water from a well is not novel or fun when you have to do it multiple times each day. For hygiene practices as basic as hand-washing.
Yet that is the reality for far too many in the world today. If they even have access to clean water wells . Often it is just a muddy pond.
Your gift to @compassionca 's Water and Sanitation Fund can provide life-saving access to hand washing facilities in the communities of vulnerable children and their families.
Please consider giving today.
by Andrea Lau on Sun, Nov 14, 2021 @ 10:42 AM
Not a Birthday Post
This is not your regular birthday post.
Because, well, it is not my birthday today.
But also because, the older I get, the less I care about doing what is considered "cool" or "normal".
As I reflected on this past year, it became clear to me that, too often, what is considered "cool" or "normal" is not very kind or right.
You only need to look at news headlines to know this is true. But what is more disheartening is what doesn't make the headlines.
Like the fact that over half the global population does not have access to safely managed sanitation.
Or that 2.4 billion people do not have access to washrooms or toilets.
Or that over one million children under five years old die unnecessarily each year due to lack of clean water.
The fact that it is normal to not talk about this is not right.
So, for the rest of my birthday month, I am going to speak about sanitation. I am going to talk about toilets. I am going to set out to "make poop cool" by raising funds for Compassion Canada's Water and Sanitation fund.
Every gift goes towards meeting one of the most basic of human needs.
And so I invite you - don't be a party "poop"-er; and join me in ensuring children around the world have clean water to drink, the ability to practice good hygiene and protection from deadly diseases.
by Andrea Lau on Sat, Nov 13, 2021 @ 6:13 PM
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