MANATEE -- Nearly 345 million people in Africa live without clean water.
Children and women often have to travel many miles to find water and at times are limited to drinking from unclean sources such as rivers or ponds carrying water-borne diseases.
The Obakki Foundation is working hard to get clean water to those in Africa who do not have regular access. Obakki has provided more than 700 water wells and brought water to more than 700,000 people since 2009.
Founder Treana Peake financed her first trip to Africa at the age of 18 by selling her car.
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Obakki is a nonprofit organization completely reliant on donations and sponsors. With each well costing between $9,000 to $12,000, it takes a lot of donations to install a well.
"It's pretty amazing what water can do," Peake says. "It's nice to see the transformation (after a well goes in)."
Over the years, the Hooper family of Manatee County has participated in numerous fundraisers to help Obakki. Their latest project, the Be the Bee fundraiser for Obakki's Living With a Purpose campaign, raised more than $1,200, which will go toward building another well.
The Hoopers started fundraising in August since a brother, sister and father all have birthdays in the month.
"We decided that we would ask for donations for Be the Bee instead of gifts," said Cynthia Hooper. "My dream is to go to Africa one day with Obakki to see what I have been able to do from my house. It has been an honor to be able to help people get the things they need to survive. No one should have to go without clean water -- ever."
All donations made to the Obakki Foundation go to help people.
Many charities pay high salaries and use much of the donated money for advertising, Peake said, leaving very little to actually make a difference. With Obakki, even if your donation is small, every penny will go to the people who need it.
Nathan Hooper, 13, said his family organized a school supply drive six years ago for children in Africa.
"We did this because a lot of the schools they have are outside and some do not have pens or paper," he said. "All teachers have is a stick and the dirt to teach the children. We gathered so many things for them. I was happy that I was able to help someone my age in need, even if they were on the other side of the world."
African children spend so much time walking and drawing water they can't always attend school because of time spent searching for water or growing ill as a result of water-borne illnesses.
With new wells being built regularly, more African children can attend school without worrying about a trek through the jungles. Obakki has built 12 schools in Cameroon with the possibility for more, as a result of the new wells.