In a remote region of Nepal stands a small village called Khorla. For the 800 people who call this place home, the earthquake that struck on April 25th was a devastating blow. With houses leveled, water sources cut off and access to the outside world limited, it would seem as though hope was the farthest thing from the villagers’ minds. But as our engineers climbed the mountains and hiked into the village, the one thing they saw repeatedly was the spirit of hope.
Engineer Tim Darms, on the ground directly after the earthquake, commented on the outlook of the people, “Although everywhere around you was complete destruction, you could see hope in the community as the women would talk and laugh together, and as the children played outside what used to be their homes. They didn’t let the destruction get in the way of them living their lives. It was like they decided to simply get up, rebuild and go on living, never once believing this was their final fate.”
Water Missions International responded to the Nepal earthquake, bringing safe water treatment systems and engineers from around the world to help with relief. Crisis situations always serve as reminders of how this work cannot be done without partnerships with passionate organizations. The Disaster Recovery International Foundation (DRIF) is just one example of the many types of partnerships we have. The mission of DRIF is to work alongside non-profits to support them in their disaster relief efforts and if any organization understands the value of partnerships it is DRIF. From providing widespread education, to organizing the delivery of blankets to victims of hurricane Sandy, to financially supporting organizations like Water Missions, DRIF has a long history of working alongside other groups to make a difference.
I sat down with Jerry Vevon, vice chair of the DRIF, to find out why organizations like this choose to partner with Water Missions. Vevon explained that their worldwide network of certified professionals serves as a platform for intentional and widespread support gathering, and partnering with other responsible nonprofits is crucial to the organization’s integrity. Vevon was excited to work with a local (Charleston) nonprofit that has a global impact, emphasizing the importance of trustworthiness. “I never want to give away money and find out 90 percent goes to an over head or that it’s a shady organization,” he explained, “so, if possible, I prefer to physically go [to an organization] and see it and walk around.” And what he saw here, he liked.
Water Missions understands this desire for financial transparency among supporters, which is why we’ve worked diligently to sustain a four-star rating with Charity Navigator for nine years in a row. Directing 80 percent or more of our funds to putting safe water directly into the field is our guarantee. It allows our partnerships to thrive, as they know that their money is being spent to bring more communities like Khorla safe water. Our continuous efforts to minimize overhead costs combined with the generosity of organizations like DRIF are what allow our work to continue growing.
As we continuously work to designate more of our finances to putting safe water in the field, we also strive to have our partners’ contributions provide sustainable solutions that have exponential impact over multiple generations. As Vevon so aptly put, “the intent and the desire, which makes Water Missions good is that it’s not a one-and-done type thing. It’s sustainable. When the team leaves, there’s something there. It makes a lasting impact.” Together we are working to provide not only sustainable safe water but also hope to millions of people around the world. Find out how you can be a part of this mission at watermissions.org/get-involved.