Four-year-old Heather Bailey saw footage of a grandma and her grandchildren talking about their difficulties obtaining clean water and decided she wanted to help.
Unlike in the United States, many people in other countries have to walk for miles to get clean water, Heather learned.
“I wanted to build a well so the people could get clean water, so they didn’t have to miss school or work,” Heather said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network.
She told her mother she wanted to sponsor a well and her parents promised they would match any money Heather wanted to give.
Initially, the four-year-old thought $25 was enough to build a well. But when she learned it would cost more than $1,000, she said she wanted to build the whole well.
With the help of her parents, Heather fundraised by squeezing lemons to make lemonade and selling cupcakes and her own artwork.
Three months later, the four-year-old raised enough money for the well.
“I raised $1,070. It really made me happy to give other people a well,” Heather said.
An inscription will be placed on the well that reads: “Anyone who drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water I shall give him shall never thirst.”
“Jesus helped me to raise $1,000,” the little girl said. “That’s a lot of money!”
To more than a billion people around the world, clean drinking water is so rare that it is sometimes called “liquid gold.” Clean water is often too expensive or inaccessible in developing countries and the lack of safe drinking water causes thousands of deaths a day.
According to the United Nations, 5,000 children die each day from water-related illnesses such as diarrhea. And the United Nations Children’s Fund says inadequate access to clean drinking water is the second biggest killer of children under the age of five.
Overall, more than 13,000 people die each day due to water-related diseases.
“In the developing world, clean water represents life,” explained Compassion International, one of the world’s largest Christian groups working with poor children. “[But] [f]inding it can be a challenge to the poor, who often can’t afford it.”
Compassion International works with a ministry called Healing Waters International that brings clean water to 17 Compassion-assisted projects in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Guatemala.
Healing Waters works in the above countries and Kenya to build self-sustaining projects that make safe drinking water available to the poor. Since 2002, Healing Waters has distributed more than 50 million gallons of water, including more than 15 millions gallons at Compassion programs.
The Christian development organization World Vision is also involved in providing clean water in developing countries. In its gift catalog, World Vision encourages people to donate towards building a deep well that could provide up to 2,800 gallons of safe water a day for as many as 300 people. The entire cost of the deep well is $18,000, but World Vision generally asks people to donate $100 or what they can towards the project.