The #CleanWaterCampaign of 2015 January 28 2015

A little bit about the #CleanWaterCampaign for those of you who would like to know what it is that has me so excited:

For those of you who know me personally you are aware of my ever present need to do something (however small) to make a difference while exploring the world. After spending about four months in Southeast Asia this past year one thing became very clear to me. The lack of accessible clean drinking water is a very large problem throughout Cambodia. I have a special knack for getting food poisoning that stems from contaminated water so I found this problem to have a large role in my travels. But on a more serious note here are some facts about water, the world, and specifically water scarcity in developing countries.

  • Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related illness.
  • In developing countries, almost 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
  • Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths in children under 5 is due to a water-related illness.
  • It is estimated that over 2,000 children die each day from unsafe water and poor sanitation; that is more than the number of deaths from AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.

 So how does any of this relate to what Recycled Imports Co is about?

Upon returning from my first trip to Cambodia it was clear to me that unrelenting poverty and a lack of infrastructure led to some large piles of garbage along the roads and in fields. As someone who has made a conscious effort to reduce my carbon footprint I found this rather disturbing. Families living amongst piles of trash and waste were something that I hadn’t seen to quite this extent. What was more alarming to me was that so much of this trash was from the recent tourism boom that has led to rapid development. Cement sacks that had once held what are now the walls of large hotels and shining new resorts made up a majority of these piles. Once home, and after some thought and elbow grease, I was determined to make this business grow. While I am excited to report that it has done so organically and sustainably I am more excited about changing the lives of others. Recycled Imports Co is about empowering others through sustainable income and training; about creating a one of a kind product for individuals who believe that what you buy can make a difference.

Again, what does clean water and well building have to do with anything?

During the first year of business I set aside 5% of the profit after operating expenses to buy school uniforms and bicycles so that rural children were able to attend school. Like any start-up business the profits were small yet allowed for a few children to attend school that otherwise would not have been able to. By changing the methods and reducing overhead I am determined to do more. After traveling throughout Cambodia I realized that the lack of clean drinking water far outweighs the need for uniforms, although it may not sound as glamorous. The reach has the potential to be far greater with the same donation amount, and exponentially greater if business continues to increase. So here it is in the simplest of terms:

Recycled Imports Co will take $2.00 from each item purchased during 2015 and use it to build a well that will provide clean, safe, drinkable water to a rural Cambodian village. This will be accomplished by partnering with a socially responsible hostel that has multiple locations throughout Cambodia. The initial goal for the year is to build one water well, but I would personally like to see no less than three wells built through the #CleanWaterCampaign in 2015. Because water should not be a commodity.