Every April during Earth Month, Aveda donates 100 percent of the purchase price of Light the Way™ Candles to Global Greengrants Fund for clean water projects in communities around the world.
Here’s one powerful story of change our partnership helped make possible.
There was a time that the only water in Gomba, Uganda came from a borehole dug in the ground. A borehole that was more than three miles away and contained only contaminated water. The kids of the village were charged with collecting the water.
“We used to go at 10am, during the play hour, so that we had enough for the whole day,” says Kato Rogers, a student at Bukandula Primary School. “It had a foul smell and it was not very clean."
The lack of clean, readily available water was steadily chipping away at Gomba’s families. Children were spending more time sick than in school, and women were spending what little income they had on hospital expenses rather than on healthy food.
Godliver Businge and Comfort Harja, of the Uganda Women’s Water Initiative, knew something had to be done.
Together, they created a project to install water purification systems in local schools and to train local women to construct the filters themselves. In June 2014, Uganda Women’s Water Initiative was awarded a $2,500 grant funded by proceeds from Aveda Earth Month.
Comfort and Godliver used the grant to teach local mothers how to construct biosand filters by layering sand, gravel, and stones of various textures inside containers.
Nakalembe Patricia, Uwineza Sylvia, and Nampija Annet were trained on how to construct and use biosand filters.
It might seem low-tech but biosand filtering is immensely effective. When water is poured into the tops of a biosand filter, it trickles down through the layers of gravel, sand, and rock. By the time it reaches the bottom, 99 percent of the bacteria is removed.
Although the women had never held shovels, each stepped forward to keep their kids healthy.
Pupils of Bukandula Parents Primary School on their way home from school.
Thanks to the filters, school children in Gomba are healthier and are not as susceptible to diarrhea or typhoid; and school absenteeism has reduced by nearly two-thirds.
Pupils at Bukandula Primary School line up at a rainwater collection tank that supplies enough water for 428 students.
"We used to miss school because of being sick so often that it was hard to catch up with school work,” says Owori Keneth from Joy and Grace Primary School. “We are now in the last grade in primary school and some of us just managed to catch up on all the subjects.”
Betty Birungi, lead biosand filter trainer.
While the children were able to get back to school, the women were able to save money they used to spend in hospitals, and start building their own lives.
Gomba resident Betty Birungi found herself alone as a single mother after her husband left after 25 years of marriage. “I had no skills and no source of income and so I had to struggle to feed and educate my children. I was reserved, shy, and my self-esteem was very low,” Betty recalls.
Uganda Women's Water Initiative trained Betty to help construct filters and brick water storage tanks. This led to her building her confidence and ultimately running for a political position during Uganda’s 2016 elections. Betty won and today she works with the local government and women from her district on issues like water access, health and nutrition.
Women who have been trained to construct biosand filters, raise their glasses in Gomba.
This is just one awesome story of change the powerful partnership between Global Greengrants and Aveda has helped make possible— a triumph that is thanks to you!
You make a difference through your purchase of the Light the Way™ Candles, and in supporting other Earth Month initiatives, so thank you for always giving back! It is proof that together we all help to drive change.