More than two billion people worldwide, many of them children, have no access to clean water. While the problem can seem overwhelming, there are ways we can all make a difference both individually and together.

Nowhere are the human consequences of water shortage more evident than in the East African countries of South Sudan and Burundi. Civil war, constitutional crisis and severe drought have pushed hundreds of thousands of people into areas with extremely limited water resources. Here it is the children who suffer most – forced to rely on unsafe water, weak, malnourished and susceptible to illness. Water-borne diseases are among the leading causes of death in children under five.

In recent years the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) has been working to improve water, sanitation and basic hygiene in East Africa. As part of the ongoing effort to fund this aid work, Les Mills has partnered with UNICEF to raise awareness and money to provide safe water to the vulnerable children of East Africa.

Earlier in 2017 Phillip Mills, Les Mills Managing Director, and Rachael Newsham, Les Mills Program Director, traveled with UNICEF to a refugee camp in South Sudan. Seeing the scale of the problem first-hand and meeting the resourceful and resilient people there was an extremely powerful experience for both and reinforced their desire to make a difference.

“These people are living under incredibly difficult conditions but – with the help of the hundreds of volunteers who are risking their lives to be there – trying to create as normal an environment as possible for their kids to grow up in.” says Phillip, “It’s heart-rending.”

“They have nothing, they’re in fear for their lives … and they urgently need help in the form of clean water, food and medical care.”

And that is where, together, we can help make a difference.

On 18 November 2017, you can get involved in a truly life-changing fitness challenge. Workouts for Water will be held in fitness facilities across the planet. The aim is to raise USD $414 from every workout – which is the cost of building one water pump for a village or district. Just one pump can bring clean, safe drinking water to an entire community.

“If just half of Les Mills’ 130,000 instructors were to run Workout for Water classes we’d smash even our most ambitious goals,” says Phillip. “But our dream is that everyone will get involved. We want to raise as much as we possibly can – and every penny will go to UNICEF.”

With your help, we can make a difference. Will you help?

Find out more about how you can be involved here and put the date in your diary now to help make a fitter planet.

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