by Samana Sheikh
Mercy-USA for Aid and Development hosts annual fundraising to help build wells in Somalia.
The mission is called, “The Safe Water Challenge” it’s an online mobile campaign. The main goal is to bring clean water to people in these regions that lack everyday resources.
“When you build a well in a community,” Kayla Botello said, The Development Coordinator for Aid and Development. “You’re not just bringing safe access to water for the community, but you’re actually helping them build an infrastructure.”
Somalia is a dangerous war zone. The country lacks a foundation and is still recovering from physical damage.
“When you build a well in a community you’re impacting every facet of someone’s life,” said Botello. “No longer are they exposed to water-borne diseases. No longer do they have to make that four to six mile walk everyday and face potential attacks from wild-life and other people.”
According to UNICEF for every child, water-borne diseases are a major threat to southern Somalian children.The poor sanitation conditions and shortage of safe water can lead to infectious diseases such as cholera and pneumonia.
“I have the pleasure to reach out to local communities,” said Botello. “ To let them know they can make a difference overseas. I work with youth groups, non-profits; and I have a close relationship with the Muslim Student Organization at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan.”
The Muslim Student Organization at Oakland University has recently helped the mission. They work closely with bringing donations through bake sales, campaigning and iftars. Iftars are dinners hosted during the month of Ramadan. This holy month for muslims is dedicated to fasting and giving back to others.
“I was thrilled when sister Kayla approached The Muslim Student Organization at OU (Oakland University) to join this mission,” said Anam Ahmed, student at Oakland University. “We started the planning stages of the bake-sale and iftar. Our online campaign has a link for donations and we have some people willing to donate to this amazing cause.”
Ahmed has worked side-by-side with Kayla Botello. The both of them have brainstormed platforms to spread the word about The Safe Water Challenge.
“Anam has been one of our most enthusiastic participants,” stated Botello. “She’s participated in a series of these online campaigns. She has been involved in making sure that her community at Oakland University and IAGD (local Mosque in the area) are aware of the difference they can make by donating to this fundraiser.”
Mercy-USA provides the help and platform for fundraising; however, the community involvement through Muslim Student Organizations, Non-profits and others willing to donate make this initial project a reality.
“We want to help all people,” stated Botello.“Especially with this Safe Water Challenge, we know that a well can change an entire communities life-span from a day to years to come. We can help rid certain societies of infectious diseases and truly create a safer planet.”
In order to build one well individuals have to donate $3,500.00. Every person is entitled to clean water, hygiene and better living conditions. With donating money toward a well, it can benefit people in Somalia and Syria to receive the proper care they deserve.
To support The Safe Water Challenge you can visit: www.mercyusa.org/swc