In a silent theater a 17 year-old girl sat through the film One Peace at a Time which attributes a significant amount of poverty in third world countries to the lack of water – especially countries in Africa. With tears streaming down her face this young lady found her passion, which would lead her on a journey to provide water wells to African villages.
This individual is Elizabeth Stevens and she has come alive.
Elizabeth was heartbroken by the images of children and families suffering due to the lack of water and set a goal to provide clean water to all the villages in Africa. Her first step was asking her parents to fund the building of a water well for her Christmas gift that year – but, that was only the beginning. Elizabeth began to explore other outlets to assist her in achieving her goal, which lead her to utilizing her church for support. This is how Water for All was born.
Elizabeth was asked to give a sermon at each of the five church services one Sunday; after her inspirational message to the first service, she already raised enough money for one well. Within two weeks, she helped raise funds to build 3.5 wells.
Elizabeth established a partnership with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and communities worldwide by helping fight the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision became a great asset because they had the means and the manpower to actually go and construct the water wells on behalf of Water for All. Along with this additional support, Water for All applied and received a grant that brought the well count to twelve (roughly $31,200).
The time finally arrived for Elizabeth to decide where she wanted the first well to go. She knew immediately: Webuye, Kenya. Located an hour from the Ugandan border, Webuye is the home of Abigail, the child Elizabeth and her family had been supporting, so Elizabeth felt a strong connection to build the first well there. The summer of her senior year in high school, Elizabeth, her father and members of her church community traveled to Webuye and opened up the first well. Roughly a year and a half had passed since she sat through One Peace at a Time and in that time Elizabeth worked diligently to see her vision become a reality. It’s remarkable to see an 18 year old accomplish such an impressive feat, but what’s really magnificent is that she was able to inspire those around her to invest their time, money and hearts into achieving a common goal.
Fast forward two years and Elizabeth is now a sophomore at Texas State University where she is pursuing a degree in Political Science. Although Elizabeth is now a college student, Water for All is still working toward her original vision with the support of her father and her church community.
Utilizing her experience with Water for All and her studies at Texas State she would like to one day be a foreign policy lobbyist working to positively impact Africa and other third world countries. She also has her sights on the United Nations as Ambassador to Kenya.
When asked how her experiences impacted her, she replied, “It changed my mindset and helped me find my calling to create change and to shake things up… I am just one person, but that did not stop me.”
Elizabeth saw a need in the world around her and sought out to fix it. Her vision became the inspiration that inspired a community to come together and help others in need.