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Both good and bad

Volunteer work: Sascha Donougher (28) from the Kassel plant works towards alleviating water shortages in his free time. One and a half years ago he founded the aid organization ynspirewater.

Sascha Donougher on a water walk in northern Ethiopia.

Sascha Donougher has a lot going for him. As a 16-year-old he played soccer for the VfL Wolfsburg club in the highest youth B league and was shooting for a pro career. Because his ­father, a native of England, was sent by Volkswagen to the United States, Donougher started playing for New York Red Bulls. Two years later he returned to Germany and signed a contract with second league VfL Bochum for its junior team. But shortly before he would have been called up to the pro team, he had a serious injury. At the age of 21, his soccer career was over. That was about seven years ago.

From then on it was office instead of stadium. Donougher began an ­apprenticeship as an office communications specialist at the Kassel site. He also studied business administration, and now does change management work for After Sales.

“The secret of life is to give” – inspired by this principle from one of his professors in the U.S., Donougher began supporting aid organizations with the primary goal of helping children in need. While doing this, he became aware of the water crisis. “It really makes me sad to think that 663 million people have no access to clean drinking water, and that a child dies every 90 seconds because of the water crisis,” he says. This realization unleashed a new passion and galvanized Donougher into action. “I had this desire to change things. To be sure that 100 percent of the ­donations went directly to those in need, I founded an aid organization myself.” Thus ynspirewater was born. For Donougher, it is especially important that “every donor should know exactly where his or her money goes, and that 100 percent of the donations flow directly to water projects.”

Millions of people lack access to clean drinking water. The Kassel-based ynspirewater aid organization wants to change this.

» I had this desire to change things.«

The 28-year-old has seen and experienced a lot over the past months while doing volunteer work for his aid organization. Both good and bad. “And yes, sometimes I’ve cried.” For example, when he went on a water walk in Ethiopia. That is when ­people, usually girls, walk kilometers in scorching heat to fetch water in clay jugs or canisters for their families. Donougher now knows exactly how strenuous a water walk is. “I was exhausted after only ten minutes, and I’m in good shape.” And he remembers to this day the smell of the water that people will go to such appalling lengths to get and that they need so desperately to survive. “The stench was awful.”

Donougher explains how, after only three months, ynspirewater’s first project ­secured access to clean water for 350 people in Ethiopia. Another project should be up and running by the end of this year. How? With the help of donations, the organization hires local partners to build wells, train villagers to become water ‑experts, and hold seminars about hygiene. According to Donougher, “The gratitude, love, and joy that the people show gives you an incredible feeling of happiness.”


For more information about this non-profit organization founded by Sascha Donougher, go to