ANAMOSA, Iowa — Currently across the globe, 4 billion people suffer from severe water scarcity for at least one month each year and over 2 billion people globally live in countries where the water supply is simply inadequate. The Thirst Project is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, whose mission is to bring safe, clean drinking water to communities around the world where it is currently unavailable. Founded in 2008, this organization has served 514,427 people across 13 countries.
What is Show Choirs for Thirst?
Show Choirs for Thirst is an off-shoot of the main Thirst Project organization. Across the United States 70 show choirs come together to create Show Choirs for Thirst. The organization works with show choir students and families in an effort to raise funds and awareness about the global water crisis. The employ their connection to music to bring change.
How Did They Start?
Show choir choreographer, Damon Brown, is the founder of Show Choirs for Thirst. In an interview with The Borgen Project, he said “I started Show Choirs for Thirst because I was already deeply passionate about The Thirst Project. I had been a donor monthly from the beginning of the organization in 2008. After traveling to Africa in 2016, I knew that we could leverage the show choir community, its empathy and its compassion…to do great things in the world.”
How Do They operate?
The most common ways that Show Choirs for Thirst collects funding and spreads awareness is through miracle minute collections, show choirs and concerts throughout the country. At each event, there will be two or three minutes set aside to tell the audience about The Thirst Project’s missions and then students ask audience members to act, Brown explained. Students will run through the aisles and collect as much money as they can, as fast as they can. Each person typically only donates a few cents or dollars, but it really adds up. The rest of the funds come from each school’s own fundraising efforts throughout the year.
How Many People Have Show Choirs for Thirst Helped?
According to Brown, “As we approach the $400,000 mark, our work, specifically through the show choir community, has impacted almost 17,000 people, by giving them clean water for a lifetime.” The organization uses the money that people donate to build wells in underserved areas. One well that will bring water to 300-500 people costs $12,000, which breaks down to about $25 per person.
Most of the wells that Show Choirs for Thirst built and donated so far are in the Kingdom of Eswatini in Southern Africa. In Eswatini, people oftentimes have to drink contaminated water that they travel miles to obtain. Sometimes the choice between having water to drink and being sick becomes a very hard one to make, but choosing to drink water eventually wins out.
With all of the support from show choir students, families, and directors, Show Choirs for Thirst is an organization that has already made leaps and bounds in helping the global water crisis and will continue to do so for many years to come, as long as the communities it is involved in continue to be passionate about the cause.
– Evelyn Breitbach