Tackling the Clean Water Crisis in Brazil with Water for Lives

Tackling the Clean Water Crisis in Brazil with Water for Lives

In September 2015, Raquel Flinker and Samuel Wells contacted Habitat for Humanity Brazil because they wanted to volunteer with our Water for Lives project, helping families in need of water access. Raquel lives in Rio de Janeiro and Samuel lives in Colorado, and they were determined to help bring relief to families in extreme poverty who do not have access to quality water.   

Raquel and Samuel had a goal of raising funds for four cisterns. They set up a crowdfunding campaign and were so successful that they were able to raise over R$25,000 (approx. US$8,000), surpassing their initial goal and funding a total of five cisterns which will directly benefit approximately 20 people in rural communities of the state of Pernambuco. Raquel and Samuel decided that they wanted to get their hands dirty and actively participate in building the cisterns as well. So they took time off work and spent five weeks in rural Pernambuco, helping build each cistern that they fundraised for.

It was not an easy task! The actual build work is grueling and made much challenging by the hot climate. But with guidance from Habitat for Humanity Brazil and local partner Centro Sabia, as well as the welcoming arms of the families and masons, and lots of energy and disposition, the work went extremely well and Raquel and Samuel finished building the cisterns a few days early.

“We wanted to get involved with a cause. I already knew of Habitat’s work and was really interested when I heard that Habitat is in Brazil. We thought: we can help right here! Everyone knows that Brazil’s southeast region is going through a water crisis at the moment but the droughts in the Northeast are a historic problem and families for decades have suffered with the lack of water access in their homes. They need to walk long distances to fetch water. Helping to change that reality was our motivation,” said Raquel. For her, spending over a month experiencing the harsh reality that families face in the region was a life changing experience, which was only made more impressive in light of the gratitude, affection and perseverance expressed by the families.

This was Raquel’s second time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. A few years ago, she also volunteered with Habitat in New Orleans, rebuilding houses impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

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