With Aleppo roots, World Vision aims to help global water crisis

Sunday, May 13, 2018 | 10:12 AM

There are 790 million people worldwide who are without water every day.

World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization with a mission of fighting poverty, will host a series of Pittsburgh Water Blitz events in May targeted on raising awareness of the global water crisis.

Access to clean water worldwide is a major problem, said Jeff Fields, the site manager of World Vision’s Aleppo facility.

“We’ve been working with the water initiative, especially in West Virginia, for a while,” Fields said. “But this is the first time we’ve targeted Pittsburgh.

“But we feel that this is something we can tackle. By 2030, we feel that everybody in the world will have access to clean water. Right now, 1,000 children around the world are dying every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water. But we are making great progress with well drilling systems.”

Sewickley resident and National Leadership Council volunteer Sherree Funk said her organization has supported World Vision for years, and that the nonprofit often is under appreciated for the contributions it has made and continues to make.

“They do so many things,” Funk said. “They go into the community and listen to its needs. They identify the best way to fight poverty by asking, ‘how can we help?’” Drilling and tapping in to water systems requires the most work, and the most money, Funk said.

And that’s why events like the Pittsburgh Water Blitz are important to this initiative, Funk said. The four day-long affair starts May 17 with Wine for Water, a private event hosted at the Roberto Clemente Museum and Engine House 25 Winery.

Additional events include hosting a Hygiene Kit Build where volunteers can help assemble kits packed with daily hygiene items that will be distributed to Pittsburgh families in need.

On May 19 the Global 6K for Water will take place at North Park. The $50 registration fee will cover the cost of clean water for one person in need, and registrants can either walk or run the 3.7 miles.

The weekend of events ends May 20 with Golf Fore Africa at Diamond Run Golf Course. LPGA Hall of Fame Golfer Betsy King, Carol Semple Thompson, Missie Berteotti and Kristy McPherson will be presenting the golf clinic followed by a dinner reception. All proceeds from this event will placed towards a project in the Kesot Villiage of Kenya.

“We are getting many people signing up for the race at North Park,” Fields said. “We have good momentum. We hope the community will continue to support all of the events over those four days.”

Funk said that while 600 million people must walk to have access to clean water, she is confident that organizations such as World Vision will continue to fight against injustices for the most vulnerable among the human race.

“Time, water, health and education,” Funk said. “Those are the necessities we try to make sure everyone has access to. One of the basic gifts you can give a community is water, and that’s what we’re after.”