Drinks On Us is an organization that aspires to provide that spark for people who are deprived of a basic necessity: water. The 501(c)(3) organization was started by Northwestern student Zueber Juma with the help of his older brother, whose knowledge of finance as a CPA secured the establishment of the charity.
The beginning of the organization started with a simple habit. Juma would always grab a water bottle before getting in his car to replace the half-filled one from his last drive. The clutter of half-full water bottles piling up in the backseat every week made Juma realize to what extent he took water for granted. He started a club which eventually grew into a full-fledged charity. His non-profit works to provide a steady supply of drinkable water in areas that lack this vital resource.
In 2010, he traveled to Afghanistan to witness firsthand the social problems afflicting the nation. Drinks On Us started as a collaboration effort with Roshan Social Programs, the social responsibility arm of Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications provider, to build water wells. Afghanistan has the lowest percentage of healthy drinking water availability in the world, according to NationMaster. Only 13 percent of the country’s population has access to clean, drinkable water. The two finished wells funded by Drinks On Us now support thousands of people on a daily basis. Presently, the non-profit is campaigning to gain more recognition to increase donations “to fund the creation of new water wells in these regions.”
In addition to the two completed projects, Juma, currently a McCormick sophomore pursuing a degree in industrial engineering and management sciences, wants to grow his organization by gaining recognition on the Northwestern campus. As a freshman, he lived in Elder Hall where he met a close group of friends who are now involved with Drinks On Us. Josh Morman, president of Bobb-MucCulloch Hall, gave his reason for joining the cause, “When so many people can be helped with such little cost, why wouldn’t you put forth the effort to help them?”
Morman, the philanthropy chair of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, worked with Juma, to organize the Deltona 500. The Deltona 500 was a tricycle race that took place on Northwestern’s Lakefill. All the proceeds from the event benefitted Drinks On Us in hopes of sponsoring more water wells for those in Afghanistan.
Juma’s ambitions for the organization are high. He hopes to continue funding the creation of new wells not only in Afghanistan but also to other countries in Central Asia and Africa. As for his own future, Juma wants to work toward a successful career in finance, and expressed his intention to continue to grow Drinks On Us and ultimately run it full time.