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My Dear Friends:

I know something about suffering, and I know something about hope.  

In 2000, I went to Vietnam to distribute wheelchairs to physically disabled people. We traveled to a small village outside of Hanoi to deliver a wheelchair to a little girl, Bui Thi Huyen.  Because of her disability, she had never been able to move herself.  She sat terrified and crying on a pile of old rags in her parent's house. We put her in a wheelchair outside; I showed her how to place her hands on the wheel rims and to move around. She was frightened and tearful.  But finally, she moved the wheelchair by herself. Then she broke into the biggest smile I have ever seen. In just a few moments, we had changed a girl on a pile of rags into a girl who could move about on her own, opening up a whole new life to her.  We had given her mobility, freedom--and hope.  We had transformed her life.

And she transformed mine. After my trip to Vietnam, I decided to start the Wheelchair Foundation and today, with the support of the U.S. government and many non-profit organizations, we are the largest international charitable organization doing this work. Since 2000, we have delivered nearly 400,000 wheelchairs in more than 130 countries. 

With the Wheelchair Foundation now well-established, my newest philanthropic cause is safe water. In developing countries we are putting too many people in wheelchairs that have lost their mobility due to illness and disease that result from unclean water.  Safe water is essential for a healthy generation. Yet there are billions of people without access to clean water and basic sanitation.  In fact, 2 out of every 10 people in the world have no source of clean drinking water and 4 of 10 do not have access to basic sanitation.

Recognizing that governments alone cannot address the world's growing water and sanitation crisis, I have started the WaterLeaders Foundation.  We are dedicated to providing comprehensive and sustainable water solutions to the world, one child, one family, one village at a time.  Simply put, we aim to create an entire safe water generation.

We have the ability to eliminate water-related death and disability. The technology is available and the scientific evidence is overwhelming. We have the leadership. The time to act is now.


Kenneth E. Behring
Founder of the WaterLeaders Foundation

Copyright 2005 WaterLeaders Foundation. All rights reserved