This summer, Tata & Howard organized and sponsored a virtual 5K to raise funds for the Navajo Water Project. Runners were able to complete the race in their own time and space between July 1 and August 31, 2017, after which they received a custom-designed medal featuring a Navajo dragonfly, the symbol of water to the Navajo people. Over $1,000 was raised, all of which benefitted the Navajo Water Project in an effort to bring safe, clean drinking water to the thousands of residents of Navajo Nation who do not have running water or a toilet in their homes.
Some Tata & Howard runners decided to participate in the 5K together after work on August 16, while the Wormtown Milers — a central Massachusetts running team headed up by Marketing Communications Manager Heidi White —took to the streets of Worcester, MA to run the 5K together on August 26. Both live events were a lot of fun. In addition, virtual runners from as far away as Arizona participated in this philanthropic event.
Navajo Water Project Background:
Just like African women and children who leave their homes each day to fetch unimproved water that is miles away, thousands of Navajo also make a daily journey in search of water. For the few fortunate who own cars, they may drive to find water, although the gas expense is almost unbearable for many. For those without vehicles, they must walk miles to find water, sometimes getting the water from livestock troughs that are rife with bacteria and contaminants, other times getting water from unregulated wells and stock ponds.
Not only do the Navajo have to travel for miles to find water, but the water they do find is often contaminated. As a result of the heavy mining that took place in the area during the nuclear arms race following World War II, much of the water found in Navajo Nation is heavily contaminated with uranium or other radioactive particles.
Chris Halter, director of Saint Bonaventure Indian Mission, has done work in some of the poorest parts of Africa and Latin America. Working in Navajo Nation for the past eight years, he notes, “It’s a third world country in the middle of the wealthiest country in the world.”
Many Navajo can’t get enough clean water, creating a cycle of poverty that limits health, happiness, educational opportunity, and economic security. Of the 174,000 residents of Navajo Nation, 40% do not have running water. The goal of the Navajo Water Project is to bring safe, clean drinking water to every household in Navajo Nation.