Making a Big Difference
by Meeting a Basic Need
IN COMMUNITIES WHERE DRINKING WATER ISN’T CLEAN, WOMEN AND YOUNG CHILDREN MAY WALK AN AVERAGE OF FOUR MILES EACH DAY ALONG UNSAFE ROUTES TO CARRY HEAVY LOADS OF WATER BACK HOME. WITH NO ACCESS TO SANITATION SERVICES, WATERBORNE ILLNESS CAN BE RAMPANT. THE COMBINATION OF TIME AND SICKNESS OFTEN LEAVES THESE WOMEN AND CHILDREN UNABLE TO PURSUE EDUCATION OR EMPLOYMENT.
Amway Independent Business Owner Heather Baker learned about these issues two years ago while researching philanthropic opportunities. She recognized that meeting this basic need could help individuals improve their quality of life and overall health – and she decided to do something about it. Heather and her husband, Wally, launched CLEAN International, a nonprofit dedicated to equipping communities with clean water.
“This cause really spoke to us as a way to make a huge difference,” Heather said. “All of these individuals have so much potential, but they are locked into their positions.”
CLEAN International partners with experts in Guatemala and Honduras to reach remote villages with barriers to water access. Outreach and education programs help these communities install water systems, treatment plants, latrines and hygiene stations.
The nonprofit also has helped distribute 200 water filters in Guatemala, where 90% of water is not potable and common medical diagnoses trace back to waterborne illness. With the help of a friend who runs a medical clinic in a rural Guatemalan town, Heather connected with a local company that manufactures the filters. The company agreed to begin distributing through the clinic, and families can now co-purchase filters for their homes.
“I had the opportunity to meet the first family that received a filter,” Heather said. “It was a family of five. I can’t describe how happy I was for them.”
Heather views CLEAN International as an intermediary between volunteers who want to make a tangible impact and the communities that need their help. In March 2018, she organized a “Walking for Water” event in Ventura, California, to raise awareness. In fall 2018, CLEAN International is hosting a worldwide event to unite individuals, families and companies for the cause.
“There’s so much need around the world,” Heather said. “It’s about creating that meaningful path for people.”
She believes experiences through her Amway™ business helped prepare her to create that path. “I’ve become a better leader who can help others create change,” she said. “It is truly a business of giving.”
“There’s so much need around the world. It’s about creating that meaningful path for people.” – Heather Baker
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