When I first founded Pinch of Colour, it was my dream to formulate products without the use of water so that this precious resource would be used instead for life-giving purposes: drinking, bathing, cooking and sanitation. Last year, my dream came to fruition when a portion of Pinch of Colour’s proceeds were used to support Ekenywa, a local NGO on the ground in Kenya that supports communities directly impacted by water scarcity, lack of sanitation and hygiene. This year, it became clear to me that I needed to be in Kenya for World Water Day, not only to celebrate, but to further our mission of making water more accessible to those who need it most. So, in late March, my husband and I traveled to Kenya to ring in World Water Day—and what we discovered was more meaningful than we could have predicted.
Sharing a Meal, and a Common Goal- The night before World Water Day, we held a dinner at the Boho Eatery in Nairobi to bring awareness to the waterless mission and sustainability practices Pinch of Colour employs. Seated at our table were distinguished guests from different backgrounds who had generously gathered for a common purpose: to discuss the renewable energy sector. Though many of these people represented global companies, these companies have footholds in East Africa, and are committed to using renewable options such as wind and solar power to affect change from agriculture to tech. It was incredibly inspiring to hear how committed these companies are to reducing their ecological footprints!
As the only company talking about reducing our water footprint in the formulation and development of color cosmetics, we were moved to hear that other companies much larger than ours are making similar commitments across their respective industries. When one company makes a commitment, others often follow, and we know that’s been true for Pinch of Colour, as well: Our story sparked interest at dinner because so many African communities lack access to water, resulting in disease, death and numerous challenges. Together, though, sharing a meal with strangers who share a common goal, we discussed our dreams for how we can positively impact the global water crisis. We left dinner feeling uplifted and hopeful for the future—especially in Kenya.
World Water Day: Making New Friends & Making a Difference - On March 22, World Water Day, we rose early to drive the four hours to Nakuru, a city northwest of Nairobi. There, we met with the leaders of two primary schools—the Kaiyaba and Piave primary schools which have benefitted from Pinch of Colour’s previous philanthropic efforts. Seeing the schools first hand, and the communities that have been changed in part because of our work—how can I begin to describe that feeling? It’s nearly as overwhelming and uplifting as the hug I got from more than 50 young children all squeezing me at once! This year, we were thrilled to bring our second donation to the schools from money we raised through our Pinch of Colour proceeds and money raised through Pinch’s own Blue Angel Charity. Because it’s in the dry season, Nakuru hasn’t seen rain in almost seven months. As you can imagine, the effects this has on the communities are massive! Money is desperately needed to address the water shortage: Money for building bore holes to extract water from deep in the Earth; money for infrastructure to transport the water to villages surrounding the schools; money for further water initiatives. Being able to see where our money is going, and the positive impact it’s having, means the world to me!
My husband and I were greeted by 1,500 children who now have access to clean water. These children had prepared poetry, dances and songs for our arrival, and in return, Pinch of Colour sponsored a party to celebrate the gift of water. It’s difficult to describe the joy that hung in the hot, dusty air that day: children with no shoes, schools with nothing but four cement walls and a dirt floor—no benches or desks—dancing and laughing and rejoicing in something we take for granted everyday: clean water access. As we danced with the children, their teachers, principals and mothers under the merciful cover of a tent and shared food and laughter, I was reminded of how beautiful it is to live in the moment, to be overcome with gratitude and joy for something so seemingly simple, yet so crucial.
These children know nothing about the comforts we know in our everyday lives, yet they know how to teach us to love, and to be a part of community, and to live in gratitude. I can’t think of anything more beautiful.
Going Home & Continuing to Give Back - I’m back in New York now, and I can say with utter certainty that World Water Day was more meaningful than I could have imagined. I am so proud that Pinch of Colour has helped Ekenywa’s mission as a local NGO and that we’ve been a part of the 10,000 people now being served with clean water through their efforts. The brilliant husband and wife team behind Ekenywa know full well that the water crisis calls for a 360 degree, community-wide approach, from drilling bore holes to installing rain harvesting systems so water is available to drink, to wash hands, to flush toilets. We in the U.S. don’t often consider how to best re-use “grey water,” but we should: In Nakuru, these systems reuse the dirty or “grey” water for farming, so students surrounding the school have food to eat. Clean water is recycled, desalinated and chlorinated for safety and used again for drinking in the villages. For the second year in a row, Pinch of Colour is part of these efforts, and our donations will work to aid the long term impact of these clean water initiatives. The changes we can make—in the ways we live, in the ways we formulate our waterless beauty products, in the ways we interact with those in need—these changes alter lives. They improve lives. They save lives.
Thank you for supporting our cause and for reading my story.
Linda Treska, Founder & CEO