2014 Gala Honors Women of the Water Crisis

by: Meredith Maines
October 06, 2014

This year’s gala celebrated the women of the developing world—the heroes of the water crisis! Women are uniquely positioned, as the caregivers of society, to use clean water for positive change within their communities. We want to empower them to do more good, and it all starts with girls like Lucy, responsible for gathering water for their families. As a 13-year-old in Kenya, Lucy has big dreams for her future. She wants to be a newscaster! But to have enough time to study—and to stay healthy—she needs access to clean water right in her village. That’s where our 1,370 gala guests came in. With their support, we can help more girls like Lucy grow into women who will triumph over the water crisis. Check out our photo gallery here and watch the whole event online!

We kicked off the night with a water walk. More than 200 attendees hauled jerry cans—some weighing 40 pounds—down a 40-foot platform. It’s just a fraction of the four miles many women walk for water each day, but we hope it helped heighten the reality of the water crisis in a small way. It also gave each participant a chance to stand in solidarity with those we serve, all receiving a finisher’s sticker emblazoned with the promise, “I will walk with Lucy!”

Our three guest speakers are women whose lives began much like Lucy’s. Maitabel Okumu, now a hygiene and sanitation coordinator in our Kenya office, spent three hours hauling water every day as a young girl. She saw many neighbors die of waterborne disease and was ultimately inspired to study health. Maitabel believes that we’ll soon see more women stepping up to solve global development challenges. Maybe Lucy will be one of them! Matilda Tarr was a young mother in Liberia when civil war struck, then captured by rebels. But while a refugee, a woman ministered to her about God-given destiny. Matilda became a Christian and returned to Liberia inspired to encourage girls with the same message of purpose. Now she helps them share the gospel through principles from Living Water’s orality training. As a school administrator, Mary Casiraghi trains 300 vulnerable children in Kenya, most of them orphans. When Living Water drilled a well at their school, the water offered hope to the entire community! Now safe water is one fewer worry for these children, so they can focus on their future. Just imagine the ripple effect that one well will have. 

As a reminder of that impact, all the women in our audience received a Living Water Bangle, crafted by this year’s Harry Westmoreland Award winners, Alex and Ani. We’re inspired by this company’s commitment to positive energy. Through its Charity by Design initiative, Alex and Ani partners with non-profits to create a signature bangle, then donates 20 percent of the bracelet’s proceeds back to the organization.

But the biggest highlight of the night was Lucy herself, with a surprise newscast from the stage. From behind an anchor desk, and in her best announcer voice, Lucy shared good news—Living Water has been working in her village and will soon complete its first safe water project there in the next few weeks!

We can accomplish things even more news-worthy with your support. Our goal was to raise $3 million through this year’s gala—enough to complete 150 wells and bless 52,500 people! So far, we’ve raised $2.7 million through pledges and donations. That’s amazing progress, but it leaves us with more than 15 communities we still want to reach. Watch the event online, and if you’re inspired by Maitabel, Matilda, and Mary—and want to empower more girls like Lucy—please give now to help us reach our goal!