March 22nd, 2018

City duo getting taste of Madagascar water crisis

By Martin, Tijana on October 15, 2017.

City women part

of upcoming tour

Tijana Martin

Lethbridge Herald

Nearly 12 million people in Madagascar do not have access to clean drinking water and over 21 million can’t access a decent place to use the bathroom.

In just over a week, two locals from Brio Spa and Salon in Lethbridge will be seeing the water crisis first hand as part of WaterAid’s study tour of Madagascar.

Owner Heather Tytula and Aubrey Boehr were selected to attend a 10-day tour after they both raised more than $7,500 for WaterAid Canada during Aveda Earth Month – that’s more than double the total amount Brio raised last year.

Aveda salons across Canada have supported WaterAid for over a decade. Last year, Aveda Canada committed to a three year project to ensure 100 per cent of the population in Sabotsy Anjiro and Belavabary, two districts in Madagascar, have access to clean water.

Over $507,000 total was raised for the project during Earth Month 2017 and Tytula and Boehr were among the top fundraising teams.

“We just straight out asked for donations, which was great because of course, we were raising money to provide clean water and sanitation in Madagascar,” said Tytula.

They held a yard sale in the back of the salon and Kinetic Indoor Cycle & Fitness hosted a class to support Brio’s fundraising effort.

“People came and were super generous and just donated money for Earth Month,” Tytula explained.

“Lethbridge has been so good to my husband and I. We’re both small business owners and you know, it’s about giving back. I think we’re very, very fortunate to live in Canada, to live in Alberta,” said Tytula. “I just don’t even think that we understand how privileged we are.”

Tytula has never travelled to a country in the middle of a water crisis. “I hear it’s going to be tough just even to see.

“We get to see WaterAid in action, so actually building the wells; we get to go to the villages where WaterAid has previously built wells in,” she said.

“We get to see exactly what they’re doing, but we also get to go to the villages that don’t have water and see the difference.”

Tytula takes some solace in the fact that her employee and friend will be travelling with her.

“I feel comforted going with somebody who has travelled a bit,” she said.

But Boehr said it’s important to feel a little uneasy.

“It’s good to be uncomfortable because then it promotes change, if you stay comfortable you never get to change,” Boehr explained.

On Saturday, they’ll be begin their journey to Madagascar.

“A part of me going is also me coming back and getting to share the story of how most of the world lives,” said Boehr, noting her clients are excited to hear about her experience.

She hopes by sharing these stories, she’ll help bring awareness to the issue.

“When you know more, you do more – you do better,” said Boehr.

“I think just sharing that, people will feel inspired to do better.”

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