Model, television show The Block contestant and WaterAid Events Ambassador Elyse Knowles visited WaterAid projects in Timor-Leste last week to see how access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene changes lives.
Elyse joined other WaterAid supporters on an educational field trip, visiting a community without clean water, toilets and hygiene in the Liquica District of Timor-Leste and also meeting people in a community where WaterAid has worked to see first-hand the enormous difference these services can make. She also visited the WaterAid Dili office to meet staff who work to deliver water, toilets and hygiene projects.
'Visiting villages in Timor-Leste, I saw how clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene brings happiness and joy to communities and improves people's health and prosperity," said Elyse.
Elyse is an Events Ambassador for WaterAid and in March she drank just water as her only beverage for a month in WaterAid's Water Challenge in support of WaterAid and the millions of people around the world without access to clean water.
Elyse has always had an interest in contributing to society and helping communities in developing countries. This is her first charity ambassador role and she believes that no one should live without access to water and toilets. 'A big part of my lifestyle is keeping fit, healthy and happy. Having access to clean water makes this possible so I'm keen to do my part to make sure that everyone else has the same access to a happy and hygienic life," said Elyse.
'To know that 844 million people are living without clean water and 1 in 3 people live without a decent toilet seems unacceptable to me. I feel that many of us can get so stressed about the small things in our everyday lives, when there are people in the world that are in desperate need of basic essentials that we need to support," said Elyse.
'Living in Australia it is easy to forget millions of people in the world don't even have clean water or a decent toilet in their community let alone their home," said Elyse.
'I believe that many of the things we take for granted are things that are very much needed by other people in the world. Every time I pick up a glass of clean water, flush the toilet or wash my hands I feel very grateful to be able to do so. This in turn gives me the drive to want to make others' lives easier, more hygienic and more enjoyable by giving them these elements too."
WaterAid is an international not-for-profit, determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. Without all three, people can't live dignified, healthy lives. With all three, they can unlock their potential, break free from poverty, and change their lives for good.
With clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, children are born healthier. They get the chance to go to school, and grow up to become adults. Women and men get to earn a living. Whole communities start to thrive. It sounds normal and it should be. In a world with so many competing priorities, WaterAid remains resolutely focused on tackling these three essentials because they transform people's lives for good.
Elyse Knowles is the face of beauty brand Ulta3 and footwear brand Emu Australia. She has her own apparel brand Evrryday, and has featured in campaigns for brands such as Myer, Bras & Things, Billabong, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Jo Mercer and Polo Ralph Lauren.