More people have cellphones than toilets!

If I were to ask you to list the most important life-saving devices in your home, what would be the first one that came to mind? Your smoke alarm? Your fire extinguisher? Your security system?

I bet it would never be your toilet.

That’s because here in the United States, things like Cholera and Typhoid have more to do with our history books than our daily lives. We don’t realize just how critical proper sanitation is to the safety of our families and our communities.

But in nations like Nicaragua, where these diseases are rampant, having access to something as simple as a latrine can mean the difference between life and death.

Take the small village of Santa Amalia for example. It consists of approximately 280 hardworking families located 60 miles north of the city of Jinotega. It’s a community of farmers who raise livestock and grow coffee in an effort to survive. But it isn’t enough. Something is making them very
sick, and it’s beginning to destroy their community through the emotional and financial strain that comes
from chronic illness.

Unbeknownst to them, the root cause of this mysterious blight is simple… and it is all around them.

Uncontained waste is a huge issue in villages like Santa Amalia. Where there are no latrines, waste is tracked into homes; it contaminates the local ground water and even taints food stores when spread by vermin and other pests. Once those with weak immune systems, like children, show signs of
infection there is little hope of recovery.

According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 million people needlessly die every year from diarrheal diseases like Cholera and Typhoid in places like Nicaragua…90% of them are children under the age of 5. That’s 4,438 children who succumb to these diseases every day.

I’ve walked through villages like Santa Amalia. I’ve seen little ones suffering from the dehydration and malnourishment caused by these diseases. I can’t describe what it is like to see such pain and know that it was entirely preventable… that all they’ve had to endure is unnecessary in today’s world.

Out here, it’s not uncommon for us to work alongside mothers and fathers who have had to bury multiple children due to something simple like the lack of sanitation.

Fortunately, several special friends of Esperança understand the severity and the needlessness of this situation and have committed to matching your pledge this month, up to $25,000, towards correcting this unnecessary loss of life!

Your pledge will help save the lives of the children of Santa Amalia. Your partnership will help me erect 280 latrines throughout the village – one for each family to help stop the spread of these lethal diseases.

Each latrine is composed of common local materials like concrete, wood and tin and costs $380 to build. There are no labor costs involved in this number as each one will be built, through our careful oversight, by the family that will use it. Each latrine will provide 20+ years of sanitary safety, and because each family member has a hand in its construction, they will also have the knowledge needed to maintain it themselves and build new ones when necessary!

What we are offering is not only sustainable; it will transform this village. Often the knowledge we share will spread to other villages and affect countless lives – long after the completion of the project!

Because of the size of the project, we plan to complete this in two phases. Phase one will build half of the needed latrines starting on January 1st. Phase two completes the project in 2015.

Phase one represents 140 families at $380 each. When you add it all up, we can drastically improve the lives of approximately 700 people for as little as $53,200! But it gets even better than that! Thanks to this matching gift challenge that number is cut in half because any pledges you give before
November 30th automatically double!

Our friends have given us a huge opportunity to affect hundreds of lives and with your help we are going to make it a reality!

The last latrine project we completed was a few years ago in the village of Barranco Blanco, about 30 miles south of Santa Amalia. Since we left, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in disease in both the children and adults of that village.

It’s amazing that something as simple as a latrine could have the power to save lives. Your partnership this month is giving that sort of hope and security to the people of Santa Amalia. Currently, we are putting the finishing touches on a water project in this village. These latrines will also ensure the water that comes from their new pumps stays clean! Thank you for helping me take full advantage of this Matching Gift Opportunity.

Together we are saving the lives of countless children and improving the overall health and safety of an entire village for generations to come.


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