One of the rewards of traveling with kids is showing them that the rest of the world can be different from the urban/suburban/rural lives they live on a daily basis. That might mean showing them the excesses of the wealthy, or it might mean showing them the desperation of the poor.
One of my kids’ greatest memories comes from our trip to Jamaica. We were staying in an amazing villa, waited on by a staff of five. (I came home with a suitcase full of clean clothes thanks to the laundress. What mom wouldn’t consider than a great vacation?)
While there, we hired some local fishermen to take us out on the water. They taught the kids to fish the Jamaican way–with string they held in their fingers. While I thought they learned to fish like that because they couldn’t afford fishing rods, the kids learned that it is the best way to fish because you can “feel” the fish. They still think that’s the best way to fish. And I am humbled by the knowledge that it is never safe to make assumptions about others, that we can’t judge others’ lives by our lens.
Since that trip, I try to ensure the kids see all sides of any place we visit. So far, we haven’t yet made it to a part of the world where such basic needs as clean water are out of reach. It’s certainly on my bucket list.
Until that happens, this new UNICEF Tap Project aimed at providing clean water and adequate sanitation to children around the world is a good way to start helping my kids (and maybe yours) understand that not everyone has what we have.
Nearly 800 million people in the world do not have safe, clean water to drink, and more than 2.5 billion people live without a proper toilet, according to UNICEF. As a result, nearly 4,000 children under the age of 5 die each day of water-borne diseases.
With just $5, UNICEF can give one child safe drinking water for 200 days. Currently, UNICEF works in more than 100 countries around the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities and to promote safe hygiene practices. Since 1990, thanks to the work of UNICEF and its partners, more than 2 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water.
You can donate via the UNICEF Facebook app