I never joined a sorority in college and it was likely because my idea of a sorority girl was based largely on a stereotype. As we all know stereotypes are often inaccurate and the vision of girls partying and drinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Sororities center around academics, leadership, philanthropy and maybe most impressive, they create life long bonds among women. Let’s take a trip back in time to the 50’s when it was not common for women to attend college. My Grandmother was pledging the Chi Omega sorority at Arizona State University. Now let’s fast forward 50+ years to the present, her sorority sisters are just a memory, right? Not exactly. In fact the ladies of the ASU Chi Omega sorority still meet monthly for lunch. They call it the Lunch Bunch and it is composed of 37 Chi Omega’s from varying pledge classes. The ladies have been around for each others marriages, the birth of children, and even the death of spouses as that is what happens when you have a friend that long. So when my Grandma found out about our wedding she did what every grandma does, she started telling her friends about it. One lady, Juanita, started reading the blog and her philanthropic spirit came out. Upon reading about Charity:Water she sprung into action and called each of the ladies with the help of another sister, Dot, and asked them to donate $20 towards the cause. You see these sorority sisters do like to drink, water that is, and they felt like other people should have the same opportunity. Last Wednesday they presented my Grandma with twenty-six $20 checks, three $25 checks, one $40 check and one $20 bill, for a grand total of $655.
I am beyond humbled and extremely grateful for their amazing contribution to the cause. Last night I wrote out 31 Thank You notes to each lady, telling them each a brief fact about how they changed and saved lives through their donation. Some of the stats included:
- 42,000 people die each week due to water-related illness and lack of sanitation.
- 90% of the victims are children under the age of 5.
- Women and children in Africa alone spend 40 billion, yes billion, hours walking for water each year.
- Once full the water jug, they carry for miles, weighs 40 lbs.
- The time spent walking for water not only prevents children from attending school but it also puts both women and children at greater risk of violence and sexual assault.
- Charity:Water spends extensive time teaching the people where wells are built about proper sanitation. Proper hand washing alone can prevent 45% of deaths caused by water-related illness and lack of sanitation.
- A Water Committee is formed of elected members of the community where water projects are built so that they can help organize and maintain their water project. The elected positions are often women which brings a new sense of respect and integrity to communities where women are not treated as equals.
- Each community that receives a well from Charity:Water must petition for one and contribute to the project. This instills a sense of ownership and pride.
- A water source not only provides clean water for drinking and clean water for sanitation but it also provides a way to irrigate small gardens. This not only provides food for families but it also provides an income source as they can sell their produce at open markets.
- Just $20 provides water for one person for 20 years.
Before their donation our campaign had raised $145 toward the $1000 goal. They pushed us up to $800 and their contribution alone will serve 33 people. We have 55 days left to raise the remaining $200. If we meet our goal before June 30th we can send our money out into the field for projects that are about to begin. With just a few phone calls a group of sorority sisters came together to produce amazing results. The ladies are friends for life and they’ve carried the values they learned in their sorority days with them throughout their life. Thank you ladies, your generosity is inspiring.
What could you do with a little effort? Would you be willing to change a life for $20?
Go here to read our first post on Charity:Water.