Clean water. You shower in it, you cook with it, you chug it after a run. On warm summer days, you cool down in it. And more than 3.5 million people are killed annually because they don’t have access to it.
That’s the number of lives claimed every year due to a lack of clean water. Over two million of these casualties are children.
Today, more than 785 million people lack access to safe drinking water. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the populations of the U.S., Brazil, Japan, and Germany combined. As populations continue to swell and scientists warn of increasing climate disasters, fears over clean drinking water are growing.
But an Idaho business is hoping to do its part in solving the water crisis. They’re looking toward the future, and they’ve figured out the first steps.
Vivid Roots is an apparel and travel company focused on providing safe, clean resources to communities in impoverished countries. They inspire those who join their various trips to South America to “live vividly” and give to others.
Originally started by four University of Idaho students in 2014, Vivid Roots donates a portion of their proceeds from apparel sales and trip funds to supply clean water and sanitation to communities that currently lack these resources.
Through innovative thinking, they’ve found a balance between functioning as a thriving business and making a difference. They’re one of many companies covered on our blog that saw a need and said, “We’re going to do something about this.”
Each year, members of the Vivid Roots team and their travelers embark on service projects in communities in Guatemala and Ecuador. Together with local workers and experts, Vivid Roots travelers construct health centers, repair roofs, install playgrounds, and supply the community with fresh, clean water resources.
Join The Movement
You can participate as well. The company is always looking for new people to join the cause. Search upcoming trips on their website, and if something strikes your interest, then just sign up.
Aside from completing service projects, those who join the trips are also immersed in South American culture via cooking classes, hiking excursions, immersive dance performances, volcano treks, beach tours, and house stays with locals.
This same group of college students also founded Water for Life, a branch of Vivid Roots that partners with Rotary International and other organizations to create sustainable water systems in South America, once again primarily focusing its efforts in Guatemala and Ecuador. Where Vivid Roots focuses on creating service opportunities for those bitten by the travel bug, Water for Life’s entire focus is providing resources for safe and clean water.
As of May 2020, Vivid Roots’ founders have installed 3 community water systems, renovated 14 schools to have access to clean water, and impacted 15,100 people — all for the sake of others.
As corporations that utilize a buy-one-give-one approach to charity grow in popularity, companies like Vivid Roots and its Water for Life branch are putting their boots on the ground in communities they serve. Vivid Roots’ dedication to providing impoverished communities across the globe access to fresh, clean water is an answer to a dire health crisis and economic downturn.
Poverty plays a major role in access to clean water and safe sanitation. In more poverty-stricken communities, locals rely on diseased and dangerous sources for water. Those without access to safe drinking water also lack access to proper sanitation, which leaves them in danger of diseases carried through dirt and feces.
Poor water sources become the primary location for bathrooms, laundry cleaning, drinking, and fishing, and because of this contamination, the water becomes dangerous. But without proper access to safe drinking water, people in these communities have no other alternatives.
That’s what makes missions like Vivid Roots’ so urgent. According to health experts, this advocacy could save millions of lives every day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper water resources, hygiene, and sanitation could prevent at least 9% of global diseases. In addition, the CDC found that providing sources for safe and clean water can boost the economies of impoverished communities. Research suggests that for every $1 invested in these communities, the locals see a boost in their economy by anywhere from $5–$46.
Through T-shirt sales and trips thousands of miles away, Vivid Roots is providing communities with a safe, reliable water resource, stimulating the economy, preventing diseases, and empowering communities to thrive — 1 glass of clean water at a time.