Health, Hope, and Dignity: WaterSchool at NamesCon 2016

Tony Woodward discusses Waterschool with the NamesCon 2016 crowd At the epic Waternight 2016 Gala at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, NamesCon co-founder Richard Lau said that NamesCon was created to support clean water initiatives. The next day, Tony Woodward took the NamesCon main stage to talk about how WaterSchool fundamentally transforms the lives of families in need of clean water.

As a volunteer, Woodward regularly revisits Uganda to make sure the money raised for WaterSchool is going to the right places. Vistits to locales like Wakiso District in central Uganda serve as reminders of just how far we have to go. The difference between a nightmare of disease and a chance for a healthy family lies in clean water. "It really is a night-and-day scenario," said Woodward, "from disease to hope."

Women and children in rural Uganda spend around 30 hours a week solely on collecting water for their families, walking with very heavy jerry cans full of water from sources that aren't even clean. (The NamesCon Main Hall has some jerry cans full of water for you to heft, so you can see just how heavy they are.)

Water can be disinfected by UV light. "I drink that water when I go to Uganda and I'm still here." Economic development in Uganda is transforming the lives of those in Uganda: "Economic freedom provides hope and dignity for everybody." Health, education, business, community, and family are intertwined, and linked by access to clean water.

"WaterSchool relies on Waternight," said Lau. "Waternight was fun, and it's gonna make a big impact," said Woodward. For just 33 bucks, you provide clean water for a family for life.

"The goal was $50,000, but the underlying goal was participation," said Lau... and the stack of donor cards has never been taller. NamesCon attendees more than doubled the goal. $35,000 were donated on the spot for WaterShave, in which several brave attendees shaved their heads. Over $115,000 were pledged for Waternight 2016, which will directly benefit over 3,500 families.