Student-run club holds first fundraiser at The Loft

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the stakes were high at The Loft Board Game Lounge, since the patrons were playing to help provide clear drinking water for people around the world.

This event, which ran from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., was organized by WaterFor-University of Ottawa, a non-profit student club aiming to fight against water insecurity.

The Loft’s usual $5 cover fee was waived that night, and instead the $5 charge was donated to the Khairon Foundation for Relief and Development, which seeks to provide clean water access to cities throughout Yemen.

Dhilal Alhaboob, president of the club, is a second-year international development student who started WaterFor-University of Ottawa in September of this year after having an eye opening conversation with her family in Yemen.

“The idea started when I was on the phone with my grandma … and I found out that they were dependent on people delivering water to them. That was a turning point in my life,” she shared, adding “I’m sad about this, but I want to do something about it, because not having clean water is a huge implication (globally).”

“The first thought that came to mind was that they needed a sustainable solution, but that really isn’t something that can happen right now just because there’s a conflict in the country,” said Alhaboob, explaining that the first step is to start a club on campus that can open up discussions about the issue.

“A big component of our club’s mission is to educate and to raise awareness,” Alhaboob added.

In this spirit, infographics were laid out on every table at this event to outline the current water situation in Yemen. Upon taking time to read them, patrons could learn startling facts about how: Yemenis spend up to 30 per cent of their income on water, three out four citizens don’t have access to clean water, and due to political conflict and violence most gas-powered water pumps are now inoperable.

While this recent game night at The Loft served as WaterFor-University of Ottawa’s first official fundraiser, the group has plenty more events planned for the future.

The club’s next fundraiser will be a film screening held on Nov. 25, in collaboration with Human Concern International, with the funds going towards the Potlotek First Nations community in Nova Scotia.

WaterFor-University of Ottawa is also currently planning a conference on campus to engage students in the discussion of water insecurity around the world. To find out more, you can find them on Facebook.