How Aguayuda Began
In 1975, Simón Zimmer, one of the founders of Aguayuda, was born in Bogotá, Colombia. His biological family was poor and had to make the difficult decision to give him up for adoption when he was 6 months old. He was adopted by a loving German family living in Maryland, USA.
Not until Simón turned 25 did he ever think about going back to Colombia to discover his roots. But once the idea was set in his mind, he did everything possible to go back to Colombia. Between 2003 and 2005, he served 2 years in Peace Corps in Honduras accompanied by his girlfriend and future wife, Sabrina. In late 2005, Simón and Sabrina visited Colombia for the first time. After 6 weeks of being in Colombia, they found his biological family after 30 long years. It was an amazing and joyous reunion and it was at this moment that Colombia became Simón’s second home. A few months later, with the support of Art and Linda Zimmer (German Father and Stepmom), the inspiration for Aguayuda (Agua = Water, Ayuda = Help) was born.
Art is an expert in water filtration and evaporation technologies with over 35 years of experience as a chemical engineer. Through Simón and Sabrina’s experience in Honduras, they learned firsthand about the importance of access to clean water. As they started to research and learn more about the global water crisis, the shocking statistics inspired them to address the need for clean water worldwide.
884 million people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water.
Fortunately, there are many types of appropriate water solutions that can be implemented in communities to solve this growing water crisis. However, the real challenge is to make the water solutions sustainable and provide clean water for years to come. The key aspect to maintaining sustainability is to accompany these water solutions with a strong educational component. This includes training a local water committee how to operate and maintain the water solution as well as providing educational workshops that focus on essential topics that help improve the people’s quality of life.
Aguayuda is proud to report that since our inception in 2006, we have installed and repaired windmills, implemented pipelines, installed rain harvesting systems, repaired water storage tanks, built laundry washing stations, maintained a water truck sponsorship program and created four educational manuals on essential health topics. These accomplishments have provided 10,000 (end of 2013) people access to clean water on a daily basis. As additional positive results of Aguayuda’s efforts, a local community built nineteen new homes and one of Aguayuda’s water committee members established a non-profit organization that installs, repairs and maintains windmills. Lastly, Aguayuda has non-profit organizations supporting Aguayuda’s mission in Germany and in Colombia.
Through these valuable experiences, Aguayuda has developed sustainable and practical solutions. Thanks to the hard work and continued generous support from a diverse group of people and organizations worldwide, Aguayuda continues to improve the health and lives of impoverished people worldwide.