ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- Timothy Alexander of Rochester decided five years ago, when he was just 12 years old, that he wanted to help people less fortunate get access to clean water. Alexander wanted to know what it was like to walk miles for water like people do in third world countries. He filled up two gallon jugs with water and walked about four miles with them around his neighborhood.
Clean water is something many take for granted. But for more than 1 billion people worldwide, it's a scarcity that can cause catastrophic consequences.
Alexander said the water is mostly carried by women and children in countries like Sudan and Cambodia. They have to walk miles just to get a little bit of water that often isn't clean. He said this puts communities at high risk of disease, and because the children help, they can't go to school. The cycle of poverty, compromised health and disadvantage continues.
After walking with the jugs of water, he then only used that water for the whole day. After talking to his mom, he decided to make walking with the water a weekly routine and partnered with Samaritan's Purse charity to raise money to build wells for third world countries.
The idea caught on, and he formed Carrying 4 Clean Water. With about 13 of his friends, Alexander has raised more than $23,000 to help build wells. Combined, they have walked more than 500 miles while carrying jugs of water.
"It's a relatively easy fix. For about the cost of about $20 per person, you can give them access to clean water for the rest of their life," Alexander said. "It changes them, their family. It literally transforms a life for about $20."
Alexander said after installing the wells, Samaritan's Purse teaches the communities how to take care of them. He said everyone should able to have basic necessities to sustain life.
He is off to college in Alabama in the fall and he hopes to continue his mission there and keep it alive in the Rochester area too.
The group is always looking for more people to participate. Alexander said people carry water jugs of all sizes. He urges people to visit the Carrying 4 Clean Water website for more information.