Why We Walk for Water

We Walk for Water so one day, they won't have to. 

Worldwide, 844 million people lack access to clean water. The average distance to any water source is 6 kilometres away, resulting in a long, strenuous and dangerous Walk for Water. 

Women and girls are the primary water fetchers. This takes girls out of school and women out of paid labour. Not having access to clean water means death and sickness rates remain high - devastating even.

So, what are the statistics?

2.3 billion people don't have a decent toilet of their own.

Every minute a newborn dies from infection caused by lack of safe water and an unclean environment.

Diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets kills a child under 5 every 2 minutes. 

The World Bank says promoting good hygiene is one of the most cost effective health interventions.

844 million people don’t have clean water close to home.

Around the world up to 443 million school days are lost every year because of water-related illnesses.

Every $1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of $4 in increased productivity.

If everyone, everywhere had clean water, the number of diarrhoeal deaths would be cut by a third.

Photos by Ernest Randriarimalala

IN-LOCATION: REDBLOOM

Picture your day’s to do list – all the chores and tasks you need to complete. Now imagine what that day would look like without direct access to clean water. Suddenly your priorities shift, and focus is put on the one thing we all quite literally, cannot live without. Water. 

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As a salon we are honoured to participate in Collega's Earth Month initiative again this year. We are deeply aware that without the bountiful access to safe, clean water we are privy to in Canada, our home lives would revolve around the collection and transportation of this resource, while our industry would be essentially nonexistent. This alternate reality becomes even more meaningful as we think about the effect water scarcity has on women and children worldwide. As a company that is staffed almost entirely by women, we see firsthand the benefits of female driven leadership in society. By supporting WaterAid, we are able to champion women and girls to be leaders in their communities. Where there are empowered and educated women, there is economic growth and prosperity.

Since 2012, RedBloom has raised over $73,000 for clean water projects. Our goal this April is to add another $20,000 to that total. Our stylists and staff have been personally collecting donations, and on April 23, we hosted our own Walk for Water. RedBloom staff, family members and friends walked 6 km around the Bow River here in Calgary. What begins as a lovely city stroll for us becomes quite poignant when we think that six kilometres is the average distance women and children walk every day to collect water in the developing world. It was even more meaningful to walk along our river- flowing powerfully with fresh, mountain water. How blessed are we to have access to this resource- even in the middle of our urban landscape. 

Engaging our salon clientele about this cause is important not only to make our fundraising goals, but primarily to educate and inform them about the urgency of the global water crisis. We wanted to make it simple and meaningful for our clients to help, so we created a variety of ways for them to engage. Each of our locations held a bake sale where all funds collected from the sale of delicious goodies championed the cause. Some of our staff are also putting on hot lunches to aid their personal fundraising efforts. We are selling tote bags, and Cupanion water bottles - all funds go directly to WaterAid.

Clients who pledge $5 or more receive a ballot and are entered to win a gift basket (valued at 500$) filled with Aveda products, tea, earth month swag and a gift card for salon services. We track these donations with our water drop wall- a visual reminder to us all that our goals are significant and attainable.

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We have also created a RedBloom coupon book. For $25- the cost of providing one person clean water for life, our clients receive over $150 in savings on products and services in salon. This book is a way to thank our clients for their patronage to our salon and for their compassion to this important cause.

At RedBloom we endeavour to "be always blooming" and we recognize that without water, we cannot grow and we cannot bloom. We are close to reaching our goal this year and will do our best to ensure that 800 more people will have access to clean water because of our efforts.

Happy Earth Month!

Love, RedBloom 

How can you make a difference this Earth Day?

This year's Earth Day theme is End Plastic Pollution.

We know the harms that plastic can do to our oceans, air and land. One impacting way to lower plastic use is to decrease the use of bottled water. Worldwide, millions of people resort to buying bottled water simply because they lack access to clean water otherwise.

Let's change that.

 Photo by Ernest Randriarimalala

Photo by Ernest Randriarimalala

Make a difference at home:

  • Use a reusable bag. Buy or make your own and be sure to wash them often! 
  • Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering out.
  • Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.
  • Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic.

Make a difference in Madagascar:

  • Raise awareness about the world water, sanitation and hygiene crisis through your social media, or by speaking with your family and friends.
  • Aim to achieve your Earth Month goal to provide clean water in Madagascar.
  • Recruit a friend to help your efforts or begin their own fundraising campaign.

IN-LOCATION: HENNING SALON

How amazing is it that we live in a place where clean water is just steps away, without even having to think twice about it? That is why we decided to set the bar high this year in efforts of bringing clean water to hundreds of people in the villages of Madagascar. Making a conscious effort to spend time talking to our guests about this major issue, and volunteering our time to host events seemed like an easy choice to make. Especially when we are so fortunate to have the resources and abilities to do so. 

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Our goal for this years campaign is to raise $10,000; and we are determined to reach it! 

We have upped the anti on our fundraising efforts in order to achieve this incredible goal. Our annual cut-a-thon is always a great success. We are volunteering our time on Monday, April 23rd, offering haircuts for $40 for women and $35 for men. We will also offer hand massages and stress reliefs for an additional $5 donation. 

Our second event is Yoga for Clean Water. Our local yoga studio, The Lions Den, has graciously donated their time on May 2nd from 7-8:30pm. Tickets for the event are $20, with optional stress relieving massage for and additional $10 donation. This yoga class is hosted in our salon and is a slow flow class, allowing people of all levels to attend! 

As for in-salon fundraising, we have Earth Month tote bags available for $10, raffle tickets and our personal favorite; Pie-in-the-Face. With the purchase of a raffle ticket, guests are entered in a draw for a chance to win 1 of 3 prizes: 

  • An Aveda gift basket worth $400
  • A blow dry package of 5
  • A service of their choice

Last but not least, we have a Pie-in-the-Face competition. Guests are able to drop in a cash donation of their choosing into 1 of 2 jars; each jar represents one of our owners, Kathleen and Jeff. At the end of our fundraising campaign we will total up the donations in each jar and the person with the most money in their jar is getting a pie to the face! Our team is especially excited about this. 

To keep ourselves as well as our guests inspired, we have visuals throughout the salon and on our social media pages. There are visuals of how far along we are to reaching our goal, as well as Aveda Earth Month posters, signs and the 44lb water container. 

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Did I mention as extra incentive Kathleen as well as another team member, Lisa have decided to shave their heads if we achieve our $10,000 goal? That is dedication to the cause! 

We are so excited to have already surpassed the halfway point of our goal and are so very thankful to all that have contributed to this amazing cause. Thank you all so very much! 

 - Henning Salon

Life with Clean Water: Vero

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We first met Vero and her baby girl Tompoina in Tsarafangitra, Madagascar over a year ago. Back then, Vero was walking more than 3 kilometres a day to collect water from a dirty pond. This was her only access to water. Vero's daily trek consisted of walking down a dusty road, which led to a path ending at a small, bumpy hill. She would then make her way down that hill to the dirty pond, some times with her young daughter strapped on her back.

Each day, Vero would fill her jerrycan with water. Water that she knew would make her and her family sick, but at the time, she had no other choice.

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All of that changed six months ago, when construction of the water taps in Tsarafangitra were complete. Together, with the rest of her village, Vero celebrated the arrival of clean water. This was the first time in her life that Vero tasted what we taste every day - clean water. 

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The arrival of clean water in Tsarafangitra symbolizes more than development in the village. It means that Vero, her daughter and everyone, everywhere in Tsarafangitra will have a better livelihood, better health, a better chance at gaining an education; they will be able to profit from work and breaking the cycle of poverty.

With access to clean water, Vero and her daughter Tompoina are all smiles. They have direct access to clean water. Vero can spend more time with her young daughter and focus on what matters. This was all made possible thanks to your support👏💕! 

WATCH below to see how Life with Clean Water has changed Vero's life!

Photos and video by Ernest Randriarimalala/ WaterAid

We can't turn back time, but we can give time back.

EMPOWERING WOMEN AND YOUNG GIRLS THROUGH ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION. 

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Imagine the thoughtless parts of your day. Think about all the moments in the day you barely have to think at all. The instances when we all go on autopilot; when we’re driving in traffic and not paying attention or subconsciously dodging the 5,000 advertisements force fed to us daily. 

It’s only until someone or something jolts us into the present, where we can actively pull ourselves out of what I like to call robotic-mode and have conscious capacity to be actively aware. 

Madagascar’s lack of access to clean water is much like this. It’s the background noise that you can faintly hear but aren’t really listening to. An inherent problem we all know exists, yet fail to recognize.  Our Western World breeds a culture of complainers. In Madagascar, there is no time to protest or fuss. No time to dwell on the corrupt government and the poor state of its people.

Similarly, there is no choice but to oblige the treacherous task of walking for water everyday, because it's a matter of life and death - even if the dirty water only promises disease and death itself. A duty that literally falls on the shoulders of young females.

Attending the Study Tour in Madagascar this year was the shake I desperately needed to wake up. It drew back the curtains and shed light on how no access to this basic human right, squanders all opportunity and hope for an improved quality of life. 

Visiting the district of Belabavary, I learned that the happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they simply make the best of everything they have.

One of the villages in the district had been fortunate enough to receive a clean water tap within the last year and one of those taps I had the honour of inaugurating alongside the Mayor and community elder; Dadabe. A dance party that lasted all day was a true tribute and celebration of [new] life. 

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I got to witness firsthand how water to the Malagasy people is worth more than gold. It symbolizes a pathway to a brighter future; one with safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices for all.

I used to drag my heels walking to class or stumble to the sink in the middle of the night, half awake yearning for a much-needed sip. Why is our hugely unappreciative nature so wrongly assumptive and entitled? Relativity on this specific occasion is not an equitable argument; it’s just not good enough. 

The profound paradox between our two cultures is impossible to ignore. 

Spending the day in Amberomena, the pre-intervention village, was eye opening to say the least.

The respect and regard I had for these women before coming here was unfathomable. After walking in their shoes for a short simulated period of time [I use that figuratively as most Malagasy women perform this 3 km walk for water barefoot] - the feeling I’m left with is discerning.

No amount of hitting the gym or lifting weights could’ve ever prepared me for the hike that was walking with 40 lbs of water on my head. The crushing feeling of its heaviness and the contaminated water trickling down the side of my face, physically took a toll. But beyond the strain on my body was the hurt I felt in my heart. The routine reality here for young girls just like me, is what I can only describe as a distant nightmare. 

The moment I set that jerrycan down - i felt like I had just finished a marathon. 

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My reward? Never having to do it again. 

This was followed by the unimaginable amount of guilt I felt wishing for the walk to be over. How dare I wish for something to be over knowing I’d never have to repeat it? 

I’d never have to do that walk again or drink the water, I should’ve been relieved but all I felt was a deep sense of despair. These women do this everyday, multiple times a day - without a whine and certainly without a whimper. 

Just because grievances are not at the forefront of their daily focus, doesn’t mean these women don’t wish things to be different, for them and generations to follow. 

They want to have safe access. They crave responsibility and accountability over their clean water source. 

They wish to cherish its powerful ability to change the status quo and they truly treasure the results when it does. 

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Imagine if these women were given the equal opportunity I was given, just by being born in a first world country? That opportunity is luck of the draw - but access to clean water isn’t. Or at least, it shouldn’t be and it doesn’t have to be. 

How could something so necessary and mundane as this daily chore seem so heroic? If we gave girls in Madagascar back their time - a purpose beyond the tedious and tiresome - we’d give them more than just minutes. We’d be opening a door to their wildest dreams, of an education and beyond. 

These women are my heroes. Does that mean we are the villain’s for leading a vastly different life? No. Is our Western society to blame for contributing to wasteful water practices and over-consumption driven by consumerism? Undeniably. 

What I am certain of however is that WE CAN all learn something from this third world enigma. The immense gratitude found in the face of adversity is inspiring on so many levels and has motivated me beyond words. 

We have an obligation and duty to our Global Village and just because it seems far away, does not mean it doesn’t hit home. WE CAN care enough, simply because WE CAN. 

We may not be able to bring back time, but we can try to give time back - to mothers, women and young girls. 

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Envision the life these women could lead with more time to participate in education, employment, leisure activities and decision-making? 

The overwhelming joy and positive vibrations I felt in my time on the Study Tour 2017, is unprecedented and unparalleled - because the people of Madagascar understand what’s most important in this life; they know what it means to help each other, to build each other up, to support one another and to honour what they do have. 

50% of people in Madagascar may lack of access to clean water, but they are leaders in their unmatched sense of unity and spirit. So much so it begs the question: what would this country be if they gained comparable access to clean water? 

What would it look like if we eradicated cholera and diminished deaths caused by preventable and treatable diarrheal diseases? It would be much healthier for one, and offer a secure foundation to a culture that supersedes ours in so many other ways, but this solvable one. 

Let’s bridge the gap between being passive and taking action. Let’s acknowledge our eroding perceptions and focus on making meaningful connections with the truth; the prospective certainty that comes with access to clean water and the unrivaled promise for women in Madagascar that comes along with it. 

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Celebrate World Water Day!

March 22nd is World Water Day - a day about taking action to tackle the water crisis. 

Water is an essential building block of life. It is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development.

Today, there are over 844 million people living without safe water, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water (UN). 

How can you help?
STAND UP FOR CLEAN WATER

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Stand Up for Clean Water, Stand Up for Women

March 8th is International Women's Day, a day to take action for gender equality and celebrate women's achievements. Worldwide, millions of women and girls endure the task of collecting water for their families. This strenuous responsibility takes women out of profitable work and girls out of school. It often leaves them sick, injured and away from their family. 

We want to thank you for your continued support. It empowers women and girls, and strengthens their livelihoods.

Meet the Women and Girls of Amberomena, Madagascar

 Fleurette is 15 years old and in her final year of school. Her dreams are to get married to someone in her village, and live a healthy, happy life with her family. She currently collects water twice a day with her sister. She knows access to clean water will change her life and give her time to focus on building her life. 

Fleurette is 15 years old and in her final year of school. Her dreams are to get married to someone in her village, and live a healthy, happy life with her family. She currently collects water twice a day with her sister. She knows access to clean water will change her life and give her time to focus on building her life. 

 Finaritra is 21 years old and has 7 siblings. She is shy and loves reading. She hopes to one day get married and have a successful life. With clean water, she will keep her family and home clean. She collects water from a nearby pond every day with her mother and sisters. 

Finaritra is 21 years old and has 7 siblings. She is shy and loves reading. She hopes to one day get married and have a successful life. With clean water, she will keep her family and home clean. She collects water from a nearby pond every day with her mother and sisters. 

 Angeline is 19 years old. She has 7 siblings, loves to talk but is sometimes shy. She was born and has lived in Amberomena her own life. She collects water 3 times a day with her mother. Health is her number one priority and she believes clean water will give her and her family just that. 

Angeline is 19 years old. She has 7 siblings, loves to talk but is sometimes shy. She was born and has lived in Amberomena her own life. She collects water 3 times a day with her mother. Health is her number one priority and she believes clean water will give her and her family just that. 

 Rasoanantena is a 37 year old mother of 4. Her 4 kids were born in a hospital that lacks clean water. She collects water from a nearby pond with her daughter every day. Her dream for her children is to gain an education and live a healthy life. She knows clean water will help them succeed. 

Rasoanantena is a 37 year old mother of 4. Her 4 kids were born in a hospital that lacks clean water. She collects water from a nearby pond with her daughter every day. Her dream for her children is to gain an education and live a healthy life. She knows clean water will help them succeed. 

 Ramanantena is 40 years old. She was born in Amberomena and gave birth to all of her children in this village. She has lived here her whole life. Together with her daughter, Ramanantena collects water daily. She knows that access to clean water will help her have a clean and healthy home.

Ramanantena is 40 years old. She was born in Amberomena and gave birth to all of her children in this village. She has lived here her whole life. Together with her daughter, Ramanantena collects water daily. She knows that access to clean water will help her have a clean and healthy home.

 Marie Madeleine is 60 years and lives with her 6 family members. She loves gardening and knows that clean water will help her garden flourish. She hopes that with access to clean water, her grandkids will have more time for school. She hopes they'll never have to collect water the way she did as a child. 

Marie Madeleine is 60 years and lives with her 6 family members. She loves gardening and knows that clean water will help her garden flourish. She hopes that with access to clean water, her grandkids will have more time for school. She hopes they'll never have to collect water the way she did as a child. 


Special Holiday Offer with your One Life order!

Ray Civello traveled with WaterAid Canada to Kenya to witness the life changing work being done in rural communities that WaterAid supports. With his eye for visual creativity, Ray captured portraits of the children who benefit from Aveda Earth Month. Ray brings together his passion for photography and his passion for this cause through One Life, a book of portraits and stories from Kenya.
Photography by Ray Civello
Epilogue by Margaret Trudeau

Enjoy a special holiday offer with your One Life purchase!

Place your order of One Life by Wednesday, December 13th and receive a special gift of Misaotra thank you cards! The illustration on these cards were drawn by children in Ambonidobo, Madagascar!