Over in the US it’s Thanksgiving this week and one can only imagine all the planning going on in preparation for feasting and family. We might not celebrate the holiday here – despite the fact that Black Friday seems to have crept in there – but it is a good reminder to stop and take stock of all that we can be thankful for. And one thing that we take very much for granted is the office water cooler and the fact that it dispenses safe drinking water at the touch of a button – something that millions around the world do not benefit from.

Taken from water.org, here are a few eye-opening statistics:

  • Today 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water and 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet
  • Globally this translates into 844 million people who lack access to clean water and 2.3 billion who are living without access to improved sanitation
  • Women and girls spend 200 million hours every day collecting water
  • 1 Million people are killed by water, sanitation and hygiene-related disease each year
  • Every 2 minutes a child dies from a water-related disease
  • The 3rd leading cause of child death is diarrhoea
  • 1/3 Of all schools lack access to basic water and sanitation
  • $260 Billion is lost globally each year due to lack of basic water and sanitation

The tremendous need in Africa alone, where 345 million people are without access to clean and safe drinking water is what prompted AquAid to help establish the Africa Trust – a charity dedicated to bringing sustainable and fresh water supplies and decent sanitation to the poverty-stricken in Africa. With a percentage of every water cooler sale donated to the trust, AquAid has to date donated over £6 million, built over 5,000 water wells in different developing countries on the continent, and helped bring safe drinking water to more than 1.2 million people.

So, let’s be thankful for all that we have and practise gratitude more often – not only when it’s expected of us, but every day; because as Cicero said ‘a thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues’.