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Friday, June 19, 2015

Seeing past the statistic to the person

You would think that a United Nations (UN) statistic as troubling as 4,500 children dying every day because of water related diseases would catch everyone’s attention. Certainly it has not, as a worldwide water crisis continues. Perhaps it would, however, if more focus was placed on the stories of the children hidden in the statistic rather than the statistic itself.

While the UN statistic speaks to the scale of the problem, it is the stories of the children, hidden in the statistic, that speak to the humanity of the problem.

Children in La China, a rural community located in the rugged hills of the Dominican Republic, used to be numbered among those hidden in the grim UN statistic. It was their story, not just a statistic, which caught our attention at HOPE International Development Agency and brought them into our work and lives.

To help the children of La China, the entire community needed to be helped. HOPE International Development Agency worked in partnership with the people of La China, helping them gain access to clean water, right in their community. The abundant supply of clean water that will flow into the community at the conclusion of water system’s construction next month will not only provide safe water for drinking, but also a reliable source of water that will be used to irrigate vegetable garden plots and small crop fields.

The clean water, and all the benefits it brings - not the least of which is eliminating the loss of life among children - will enable families to restore and maintain their health.

Much can be accomplished in the lives of the poor when we focus on their story, rather than just a statistic which, by nature, can overshadow and obscure what really matters – the people who need our help.