Four Girls For Families

week 1:  this week i'm gonna... give children access to clean water
Cambodian children enjoying their new water well

Cambodian children enjoying their new water well

In 2011, Rae and Emmy Specht (then ages 11 and 8, respectively) learned the difference between “want” and “need.”  They traveled with their family on a business trip to Asia, where they visited Cambodia and saw first-hand how children there were struggling to get enough food and water.  They saw children who were the same age as them, but looked dramatically younger and smaller due to malnutrition.  They saw dirty, unsanitary water.  And they decided they wanted to do something about it.

Back home in New York, the girls’ two best friends, Maddie Joinnides and Clara Walker, heard about the conditions in Cambodia and decided they also wanted to help.

 
The four girls showing an ornament they made for sale (from left): Clara Walker, Maddie Joinnides, Rae Specht and Emmy Specht

The four girls showing an ornament they made for sale (from left): Clara Walker, Maddie Joinnides, Rae Specht and Emmy Specht

 

Together, the four girls formed a plan to raise money to buy inexpensive home water filtration systems (made in Cambodia) that they would deliver to Cambodian families the following year.  They spread the word around their school and community, and they made crafts that they sold out of a vacant storefront.  

Maddie giving a new water filter to a Cambodian villager

Maddie giving a new water filter to a Cambodian villager

Their plan was a huge success, and the girls returned to Cambodia in 2012 and handed out over 600 water filtration systems to villagers. Four Girls For Families was born, and as of December 2015, has delivered over 3,000 water filters to Cambodian families.  They have also dug over 20 water wells and built three houses.


Four Girls For Families (FGFF) brings clean water to the millions of people worldwide who do not have sanitary drinking water.  In Cambodia, over 65% of people do not have access to clean drinking water; 75% of all deaths there are caused from unsafe water, of which 90% are children under the age of five.*  Throughout the year, FGFF collects donations and sells handmade items to raise money.  Once a year, usually in early spring, they travel to Cambodia to purchase and personally distribute water filters and oversee the installation of water wells.  In addition, the filters they distribute are made in Cambodia and help support jobs for the local villagers.

* Source: UNICEF/WSP Field Note. Improving Household Drinking Water Quality: Use of Ceramic Water Filters in Cambodia (2007)


A Cambodian schoolhouse

A Cambodian schoolhouse

Rae, Maddie, Clara and Emmy (now ages 16, 16, 15 and 12, respectively) plan to visit Cambodia again in February 2016.  This year, they will not only be distributing about 800 water filters, but they will also help build a school.

Every trip to Cambodia presents new opportunities for the girls to help, and on their recent trip in early 2015, they saw a dilapidated schoolhouse in desperate need of repair. Their plan is to raise enough money by February 2016 to both renovate that schoolhouse and also initiate construction of another new school.

The four girls with Cambodian children

The four girls with Cambodian children

 
 

See the girls featured on the CBS Evening News:


Notes for this week:

  • January 1st is Global Family Day!  givetwig celebrates families by helping children in need
  • Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor the purchase of approximately 25 water filters - that means at least 25 families will now have easy access to clean water!
  • For further information regarding Four Girls For Families, please check out their website.
 

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