Staunton nonprofit helping people in Ethiopia with clean water access

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 9:45 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - A Staunton nonprofit is helping people on the other side of the world have something people in the United States might take for granted - clean water.

On Saturday, a fundraiser hosted by Queen City Brewing will support this effort.

It’s been 18 months since Greg and Charisa Knight have been able to visit Ethiopia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re ready to get back to work.

“You get opportunities placed beside you,” said Charisa Knight. “And you have a decision whether you pick up that opportunity or keep on walking.”

She and her husband Greg picked it up.

“When you go to a place and you see the need you know and know that you might be able to do something to help relieve some of that need and heartache,” stated Charisa.

The two discovered the need in Hawassa, a city in Ethiopia, while they were there adopting their sons. They started Hawassa Hope.

“We came home and we felt like God had something more for us there,” said Charisa. “We just kind of stepped in with a small goal of taking care of some children that were at a children’s home and that it just grew and grew and grew.”

Nine years later, they’re still caring for vulnerable children, plus giving widows small business loans, providing care for pregnant women, and helping provide access to clean water in Hawassa and beyond. They’re getting ready to embark on their 17th clean water project, which will serve more than 700 people.

“They’re not wells, they are spring water projects,” said Charisa. “We pipe back down to a spring and then connect to that and then pipe it out and we have spigots. That way when there’s a drought you don’t have to worry about your well running dry.”

Charisa says more than 43 million people in Ethiopia are without access to clean water, and thousands of children die every year from diarrhea frequently caused by dirty water.

“I never have to wonder if I’m going to turn the faucet on and if clean water is gonna come out,” said Charisa.

The Knights, and those supporting their mission, are giving others that same assurance.

This Saturday, June 12, from 2-9 p.m. Queen City Brewing is hosting a fundraiser for Hawassa’s Clean Water Project. Cheesesteak Scenarios will be there giving 10% percent of proceeds and 100% of tips toward the effort.

For more information, or to donate to Hawassa Hope just text ‘CLEAN’ to 71-777.

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