What a summer of positive impact looks like
There’s no point talking about how short the summer is. That’s because at ME to WE, our summers are endless. Hundreds of travellers who have joined us on ME to WE Trips over the past few months have contributed to what we call “A Summer of Everlasting Change,” creating a ripple effect across geographic boundaries. It’s the kind that has made a real difference on the ground in Free The Children communities and improved livelihoods. It’s the kind of positive impact that has also changed the lives of our travellers who return home motivated to turn their passion for social justice into action by continuing the change in their own communities. Simply put, it’s the kind of change that’s bigger than all of us and will continue for generations to come.
We’ve compiled some highlights from this spectacular summer so you can see just how much we’re changing the world, together!
Flowing water in Barind, India
This summer, a new clean water system officially opened in Barind, one of Free The Children’s partner communities in India, an effort made possible by the community working side-by-side with ME to WE travellers.
When we first partnered with Barind, the community relied on one well and three hand pumps. It didn’t have the capacity to serve everyone who relied on the well for cleaning, cooking, and drinking. The project was also deteriorating, causing the quality of water and access to water to decline over time. The well often dried up in the summer heat and in times of drought. With little access to water in their community, people in Barind had to walk several kilometres to source water, carrying it back home in heavy containers. This job was often given to young girls, which kept them out of school because of the hours spent hauling water back and forth. Furthermore, this water collected was contaminated and put families at risk of waterborne illness.
Access to clean, safe water has many positive impacts on a community. School latrines can be kept clean and well-maintained. Girls can attend school instead of spending hours collecting water. Families can use the water to cook healthy meals, clean their households and bathe. Instead of worrying about getting sick from waterborne illnesses, children can focus on their studies and parents are able to work to support their families.
A new health clinic in Mondaña, Ecuador
There’s an indigenous Kichwa term that we use a lot at Free The Children—minga. Translated into English, it means “a coming together of people for the greater good.” For the people of Mondaña, it means “transformation”. A remote community in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, this summer, travellers and local families came together here to break ground on a new health clinic that would ensure the healthy futures of hundreds of people.
Until now, the community only had access to a small clinic that was outdated and beginning to fall apart. Since this area is so remote with little access to health care, the clinic was also relied on by 10 other communities along the Napo River. When it’s complete, the new clinic will provide improved access to medical care for hundreds in the surrounding area.
We also finished construction on Mondaña’s first clean water project! For months, people in Mondaña have worked tirelessly in partnership with Free The Children and ME to WE travellers, coming out for countless mingas to finish the project. Now, every single house on the right side of the river in Mondaña has access to clean water!
Across the river on the left side of Mondaña, work is moving forward on a new water pipeline that will carry and filter water from a river deep in the jungle. When the project is complete, everyone in Mondaña will have access to safe, clean drinking water, helping community members avoid waterborne illnesses and enjoy healthier, productive lives.
Thanks to supporters like you, transformational stories like these are possible not just in Mondaña and Barind, but in communities around the world. Now, back home from their summer adventures, ME to WE travellers are hard at work planning to turn their trip inspiration into action—we can’t wait to see what they come up with!
Be part of our story—and contribute to more incredible change overseas.
Learn more about ME to WE Youth Volunteer Trips for individual youth. If you’re an educator or group leader, get in touch with us to start planning a trip.