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Four Girls for Families: Youth Making a Difference

In 2010, a trip to Cambodia changed the lives of four young girls. As two girls witnessed the health problems caused in Cambodia due to unsanitary drinking water, they both decided to start a mission to help families protect their health. Four Girls for Families began when sisters Rae (11 years old) and Emmy (eight years old) Specht traveled to Cambodia with their family during the winter of 2010.

While in Cambodia, both sisters were introduced to the harsh living standards of the local people. The two sisters decided to make a difference when they discovered that 75 percent of deaths in Cambodia were the results of drinking unsanitary water. Once they arrived in the United States, the Specht sisters began to brainstorm with their friends Clara Walker (10 years old) and Maddie Joinnides (11 years old). Four Girls for Families was born.

With the aid and support of their parents, the four girls began to create homemade jewelry, crafts and T-shirts to raise awareness about unsanitary drinking water in developing countries. The money the girls raised during their sells was used to buy water filters that would be delivered to Cambodians in need.

The water filters used by Four Girls for Families are designed to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and are given to individual families. In a country where 65 percent of the population does not have access to clean drinking water, water filters play a vital role in protecting the health of families.

Nearly five years later, Four Girls for Families has become a non-profit organization that still continues to provide water filters to rural places in Cambodia. From 2011 to 2014 Rae and Emmy Specht, Clara Walker and Maddie Joinnides have raised nearly $40,000 and supplied 2,000 water filters to families.

This past year, the organization has gained more support in its hometown of Bellport, New York, which has allowed Four Girls for Families to provide 300 water filters to families this past spring. Four Girls for Families relies on fundraisers and profits from their online shop. As the organization gains more acknowledgement and support, all four girls continue to think of ways to provide more water filters to Cambodia.

Erendira Jimenez

Sources: Four Girls for Families, YouTube, Bellport
Photo: Four Girls for Families