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Why are Millions of Children Still Suffering from Drinking Toxic Water?

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

Our indifference is allowing our children to suffer painfully and unnecessarily

Written by Vivienne Juan, Associate Elect Partner

According to the World Health Organisation, there were 785 million people lacking access to clean drinking water as of June 2019, yet in the age of information and the internet, we wilfully choose to turn a blind eye to their suffering, preferring to tend to our own lives of so-called ‘blissful’ ignorance.

You know those scorching days in summer? The ones where the heat lays heavy on your soul, and you crave the refreshment of a crisp, cold beer… Or how about an ice cold glass of water for some soothing satisfaction? Tragically, for many millions of children around the world, this simple pleasure of life — drinking clean water — has never been realised.

Clean Water is a Privilege

785 million people drinking dirty water. And surely that number can’t have stayed static in the intervening two and a half years.

To be quite frank, I am ashamed to say that the global clean water crisis never featured on my radar until I started being mentored at Lighthouse International Group. In mid 2017, I even happened to be visiting South Africa during the Cape Town water crisis, which seemed to me like a surreal, extreme version of the water shortages I’d been used to experiencing in my native Australia.

In hindsight, it scared me to think how close it came to Day Zero (no water!), and what kind of hell would break loose when all the water dried up. It didn’t even occur to me that, as already mentioned, approximately 10% of humanity already live that hell every day.

Six months later, in my first mentorship session, it would be put to me that the world already has enough manpower, money, and science to solve the clean water crisis for all of us. But why haven’t we?

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” ~Albert Einstein

Is there such a thing as an innocent bystander? What causes us to do nothing in the face of such a blatantly obvious violation of human decency? If we had a thirsty child in front of us, for sure we would pass the little one a fresh glass immediately, right?

No matter what else was going on — this work meeting, that football match — if we were faced with that innocent child, our compassion would overwhelm us. Yet somehow it wanes with every mile that’s put between us. When they’re a world away, all that’s left to feel is our indifference.

“The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children.” ~Nelson Mandela

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

How are we treating humanity’s children? As a global society, a human family, our true character is pretty careless, to say the least. We’re so busy with our own selfish aspirations that we don’t see beyond them to the plight of the innocent. Not can’t — don’t. It suits us not to see all that pain. Our cruel indifference is an absolute disgrace!

And it’s not even about the toxic, pathogenic water, really. No, the heart of the problem that society really must solve is how we’re not doing anywhere close to enough to alleviate the unnecessary suffering of these children. According to WaterAid:

“Each year, nearly 300,000 young children die of diarrhoea directly linked to dirty water, poor toilets and poor hygiene, and the greatest tragedy of all is that we know how to address this.

It’s so clear to me now, that this is such a damning indictment of our collective character and conscience, yet for the longest time I was completely ignorant of the painful reality suffered by so many, including children, through no fault of their own. We don’t need to be interested in clean water, per se, but our interest and intention ought be in not seeing a child suffer. Our standards for child welfare, throughout all of our human family, ought to matter to all of us, and we each have the responsibility to be a part of eradicating the problem.

A Call to Christian Benevolence

Looking at the state of our world, what would it take to uphold that standard? The Child Standard — where every single child, no matter what colour or creed, is afforded every opportunity to enjoy a happy and healthy upbringing, because we, as their family and guardians, have been able to always say yes, where we ought to say yes, in relation to their care.

Because of the paradigms involved, and the worldview that is necessary, I naturally came to study Christianity. This is because, as Jordan Peterson puts it, Christ is the ultimate mentor. And the more I learn about his persona, I’ve come to believe that Jesus Christ is the highest example of what it means to be a caring and compassionate person. The Christ Standard is the Child Standard. And what I understand to be one of many commandments that compassionate Christians ought strive to live by, is that of protecting widows and orphans.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” The Bible calls Christians to actively pursue meeting the needs of children, however the solution cannot simply be to pray for these children, that somehow miraculously, the water will come from heaven. It will not.

We are Capable of Caring More as a Community

Individually, I know for me, it’s a bit of a stretch to fathom myself as able to alleviate the suffering of even some of these fragile and vulnerable children! Yet as a community, a growing global community, it really is possible to make a meaningful and sustainable difference in their lives. It’s a matter of morals and ethics. A matter of conscience.

There are approximately 2.6 billion in the Christian community worldwide, yet our children still suffer. Alone and isolated, it is understandable to feel powerless. The struggle is real, physically, emotionally, financially. But what if you weren’t alone? What if you had a community of people supporting you to become the best version of yourself?

We have a strong Christian complement at Lighthouse International Group, and we share a lifetime commitment to helping conscientious people to follow through, realise their human potential in order to build value, and serve benevolently. Helping Christians, but also other good-hearted people who want to become benefactors to our children and those others who need it most. People who seek the reality of their as yet unfulfilled potential, who are more than curious about the value they can create — people who are willing to work to achieve their goals. What if unlocking your potential meant that you had more time, money, and effort, not only for yourself, but to benefit those children who have thus far been hopeless?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead

We are currently launching a global initiative to help look after our children, giving them hope and a glass of water in the short term, and a road map to a more sustainable solution to the global water crisis to alleviate their suffering long term. And you can get involved today!

The aim is to fund solutions through the expansion of our business. By working with good-hearted individuals and groups, we want to take the millions that would usually be invested in market research companies, and invest that into solving clean water instead.

The premise is simple: if you invest your time with us, we will invest in clean water. Could you help us with our reality testing research and be involved with our various forums? In helping our business, you become part of the solution, helping us to help children.

Visit our mentoring and coaching page for more on mentorship, and to register your interest in how you can help a child to receive clean drinking water, please visit our website.

Have a question? To send me feedback or share your thoughts,

please do get in touch and drop me an email— I’ll be happy to hear from you.

338 views16 comments

16 opmerkingen

Cheers for this Vivienne, I really appreciate you sharing this and your honesty too. I myself would see images of children suffering on tv news and think "that's such a shame" but in fact its shameful. If the suffering child was on my doorstep I would act immediately, well the world is effectively my doorstep and these children are dying. Im ashamed by my previous paradigm of out of sight out of mind and I do feel a sense of responsibility and the need for action. Why wouldn't we save these children or do everything in our power to at least try is the burning question? A powerful article, thank you.


14 jan. 2022

'It suits us not to see all that pain.' thank you for such a well-meaning and heartfelt article, Viv. Thank you for being so clear and real as to what is happening in the world and most importantly, our responsibility as a community of individuals to not just allow it to continue but to actually step up and out to do something, both inside and outside our doors.

' if we were faced with that innocent child, our compassion would overwhelm us.' I felt this deeply and is true of anyone with any degree of care inside them, and it is not beyond us to do something about it now, so thank you for being so clear in that. Another part…


Anthony Antoine
Anthony Antoine
14 jan. 2022

Thank you so much Viv for this wonderful article helping us to the state of our world and where we are falling down as a society. Children suffering at the level they are is deeply wrong and should be ashamed as a society in that case. I feel you expressed where we collectively are very well and I value hearing your journey of you becoming a part of the solution, through Christ, you starting to live the highest ideal in him, through and with him. I value how you connected the dots of this being the standard for how we ought to treat our children and the basis of how we ought to live as a human race. Our children…


Gillian Watson
Gillian Watson
14 jan. 2022

We are capable of caring so much more! Thank you for highlighting this so strongly, Viv.

I know I've felt like, 'what can I do as just one person', but what you are sharing about finding a way together, as a community, who has the right attitude and intention in wanting to solve it is incredibly powerful and meaningful. To alleviate the suffering of those vulnerable children, especially, but also the greater community around them that is suffering too!

What we can do when we come together is what 'ubuntu' is meant to be. (Ubuntu is a Zulu term, sometimes translated as "I am because we are" (also "I am because you are"), or "humanity towards others").

There is so…


Daniel Schmitz
Daniel Schmitz
14 jan. 2022

Thank you so much Viv for writing this heartfelt article about the reality of children in the world in regards to having to drink toxic water. 785 million people without access to clean drinking water is absolutely shocking! I’m trying to imagine one child not having access to clean water in my neighbourhood and I hope and believe that everything would be done to help that child. But almost 800 million? It’s pretty much every tenth person on the planet. Thank you for this call to action and for showing the devastating consequences of indifference. Your article definitely speaks to my conscience and I appreciate as well you speaking about Christian commandments in regards to looking after orphans and widows.…


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