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Sudanese model Alek Wek joined 60,000 people at the Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park today (September 27). She announced H&M Conscious Foundation’s partnership with WaterAid to deliver safe water and toilets to 250,000 school students in many of the world’s poorest countries by 2017.
Alek was joined on stage by Global Manager of the H&M Conscious Foundation Helena Thybell to talk about their flagship program with WaterAid. The program will engage with decision-makers at national and international levels to drive change and ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene are integrated into education policies.
Alek co-hosted the star-studded event, which was headlined by Jay-Z and attended by world leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
Alek has previously talked about how important clean water was when she was growing up in her home country:
“Access to clean water is a basic human right and is an integral piece of a developing community, village or city. 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.
“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.”
The Global Citizen Festival is held every year to fight for an end to extreme poverty. This year, organizers are calling on global citizens to make a stand on behalf of millions of people who live without access to safe water and toilets. WaterAid was proud to be an official partner on clean water and sanitation, and part of the movement to end extreme poverty by 2030.
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 empowering women came out on top.