Yesterday, 22 March was World Water Day. It was inaugurated in 1993 to focus on the importance of fresh water.
According to the UN, World Water Day ‘’celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis and support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.’’
Sweden contributes to this work via its Stockholm International Water Institute and, under normal circumstances, the annual World Water Week is held in the Swedish capital city. During the week, the organisation awards water prizes to researchers and institutes who work to improve water quality, accessibility and sanitation around the world.
Sweden itself is blessed with water. About 9% of the country is covered with water. Sweden is the EU country that has the most lakes – in fact, 40% of the EU’s lakes are located in Sweden. Lake Vänern, at 5655 square km, is the EU’s largest. Interestingly, Sweden’s total coastline including archipelago, is 48000 km, which is slightly more than a lap around the globe.
Much of Sweden’s freshwater is potable. Most Swedes have the privilege of uninterrupted access to drinking water, with occasional problems in rural areas during summer months. Even the water in the toilet is drinking water, not that anyone drinks from that particular vessel!
Did you know that every minute, 4 children are sold into the sex industry around the world? An estimated 2,000,000 children are victims of sex trade and many more in human trafficking. These figures are hard to grasp, and even harder to process. Sexual trading of children can involve local boys who are abused by tourists, impoverished girls who are sold as sex slaves to rich families, or children who are ordered like fast food on the internet. The actions of the perpetrators are ruthless and the list of assaults is endless.
But we can do something about it.
‘Children are not for sale’ is the theme of this year’s charitable Music Aid (Musikhjälpen) project in Sweden. For the tenth year in a row, three radio hosts are locked into a glass cube for 6 days on a square in a town somewhere in Sweden. This year the event takes places in the northern city of Umeå, and the hosts broadcast music and tv non-stop day and night to gather donations for their good cause. To raise money one can, amongst other things, request a song, carry out a fund-raising action and bid in the various auctions that take place. This is Swedish solidarity at its very best.
Today, 17 Dec, is their final day of incarceration – the hosts are let out of their glass cube this evening and the total amount that has been raised will be announced. The millions of crowns that they gather will be spent on prevention of the child sex trade, protection of at-risk children and rehabilitation of children who have been victims.
It is still not too late for you to make a donation. Download the Musikhjälpen app (mh2017) and make a contribution! You can also go to http://www.musikhjalpen.se or find the same on Facebook. Every donation counts!
Your contribution can save a child from a terrible, terrible fate.
Please donate! Please share this blog with your friends and encourage them to do the same.
I’ve always been under the perception, valid or not, that charity (corporate and private) is not big in Sweden. In recent years, a mass of different TV galas might have been changing this – eg, ‘Children of the World’, ‘Cancer Gala’. My impression still, however, is that charity is not something yor average Swede involves themselves so much in. One explanation for this might be the welfare state structure that exists in Sweden – we pay our taxes and the state should take care of the needy. Another explanation might be that we don’t want to accept that there is such a large need for charitable actions in a modern, developed country like Sweden. A third reason is that corporate charitable donations are not tax deductable in Sweden like they are in many other countries such as the USA.
Whatever, the reason, something happened today that really impressed me.
Normally, I love the sandwich and salad shop ‘Panini’ , I buy a lot of lattes and lunches there. Today I love them even more.
Earlier this morning, as I was buying my morning latte, I noticed a sign behind the counter. The sign read:
‘Food should be eaten, not thrown away. At the end of the day, Panini gives Everything that has not been sold to ‘Stadmissionen”s shelter for the homeless’.
This really impressed me. British sandwich chain Prêt-a-Mangér has been doing this for years, and I am so happy to see it in Sweden. Everyone’s a winner – Panini, the consumer, the receivers of the donations.
So, more of this please!!!!! Sometimes, charity does begin at home.