This article originally appeared in the March/April 2017 issue of Latina Magazine.
Every 90 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease. For Chef Marcus Samuelsson, cookbook author, TV host, and owner of Harlem’s acclaimed Red Rooster restaurant, that number isn’t just heartbreaking; it’s close to home. Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, an East African country that has struggled to provide clean drinking water to its residents for decades. Others include Peru, Chile, Spain, and much of North Africa and Eurasia.
The water crisis affects more than 600 million people globally, explains Samuelsson, and hits women and children especially hard. “My siblings had to walk an hour and a half to get clean water,” he recalls. After experiencing their struggle firsthand, Samuelsson committed himself to helping relieve the global water crisis. It’s the reason he’s involved with the Buy a Lady a Drink Campaign, a partnership between Stella Artois and water.org that aims to provide clean water to those in need.
To date, Buy a Lady a Drink has helped more than five million people throughout the world. In Honduras alone, water.org has positively impacted more than 40 communities, and the campaign plans to extend efforts to El Salvador and Guatemala.
“What I love is that you can just purchase a drink...and you can change someone’s life for the next five years,” says Samuelsson. For every $13-limited-edition Stella Artois chalice sold, $6.25 is donated to water.org. Samuelsson points out, however, that the global water crisis won’t be solved overnight. Rather, it will require thoughtful efforts and sacrifices by all.
“My dollars matter and my choices matter,” he says, noting that when shopping for his restaurant, he only buys ingredients that reflect fair practices and support environmental issues. Similarly, he urges consumers to educate themselves, get involved, and donate to the cause. For millions of women and children, it could be the difference between life and death.
For more information or to donate, visit stellaartois.com.