H&M Conscious Foundation Ambassador and Global Citizen Festival co-host, Alek Wek, announced today a new partnership between the H&M Conscious Foundation and WaterAid to bring safe water and toilets to a quarter million students in some of the world’s poorest countries by 2017.
Renowned fashion model and committed Ambassador to the H&M Conscious Foundation, Alek Wek, was joined on stage by H&M Conscious Foundation Global Manager, Helena Thybell to present the foundation’s flagship program with WaterAid, the world’s largest international nonprofit specifically dedicated to transforming lives through safe water, toilets and hygiene education.
“When kids have the benefit of safe water and toilets at school, they are healthier, happier and better educated,” commented WaterAid America CEO Sarina Prabasi. “We are incredibly proud to team up with the H&M Conscious Foundation to make a life-long difference for 250,000 of the world’s poorest students.”
In addition to providing critical water, sanitation and hygiene services to schools in need, the three-year program will bring together decision-makers at national and international levels to ensure that water, toilets and hygiene practices like handwashing are integrated into long-term education policies.
In 2013 the H&M Conscious Foundation, the philanthropic arm complementing H&M’s sustainability work, asked customers and employees to identify three focus areas for their work. Access to clean water, education and women’s empowerment came out on top.
“Clean water is so basic yet so important to life. That is why I am so passionate about what the H&M Conscious Foundation’s program on clean water aims to achieve,” commented Wek. “I personally know the importance of clean water growing up in South Sudan. We were fortunate enough to have a small pump within walking distance, but when war broke out in the Sudan my mother would boil water for me and my siblings so we would not get sick from the contaminated water.”
The Global Citizen Festival was attended by over a dozen world leaders, a star-studded line of up musicians and celebrity hosts including Hugh Jackman and Jessica Alba, and 60,000 Global Citizens on the Great Lawn of New York City’s Central Park. The free-ticketed concert called for an end to extreme poverty, including accelerated progress on behalf of millions of people who live without safe water and toilets.
“We were delighted that both WaterAid and H&M Conscious Foundation were able to join us at this year’s Global Citizen Festival to challenge the ‘poo taboo,'” commented Global Poverty Project CEO and Festival founder, Hugh Evans. “The incredible work of these two organizations will improve sanitation for 250,000 students in some of the poorest countries.”
About the H&M Conscious Foundation
The H&M Conscious Foundation is an independent non-profit global foundation initiated by H&M to drive long-lasting positive change for people and communities. The current focus areas for this work are education, clean water and strengthening women.