As Earth Day approaches on April 22, we are featuring one of San Francisco’s most innovative and eco-friendly entrepreneurs, Shakira Niazi. The Founder and CEO of VITA Water is making her mark on a global stage with her unique, charitable take on bottling and selling water: Each bottle of VITA sold gives one person in need access to clean water for about a year. The plan is simple and results are measurable.
VITA’s mission is for everyone to have access to good healthy water. The VITA community connects consumers to villagers and provides both with healthiest choice of water. For Niazi, a refugee from Afghanistan, her journey began as she was watching the nightly news on World Water day. They reported on the lack of safe water crisis, followed by coverage on latest war that had broken out in Afghanistan in 2009. Niazi says,”It really moved me, because I could have been one of those statistics. At least 1.8 million children under the age of five die from water-related diseases each year. It even kills more people than war.”
So she was moved to act. She asked the question, “What if there was a brand that satisfied the demand for healthy and eco-friendly bottled water while providing access to clean water for those in need? This would be a life-saving opportunity. Salvare La VITA water was born, ‘save life water’ in Italian.”
Niazi continues, “I am a refugee from Afghanistan, just lucky enough to be educated in America, with not only access to safe water, but also the greatest land of opportunity. On that day, I realized the purpose of my life. I believe, there was a reason, why I’ve been given the privilege of being in this part of the world at this very moment of time, I truly believe it’s my purpose to bridge our worlds for the better, not by war and violence, but through good water!”
Most impressively, the water is derived from a sustainable source – from VITA’s protected under ground spring, a rare spring, high in Sierra Mountains, ensuring isolation away from commercial and industrial pollution. The source is local, yet one of the most pristine spring waters of America. Naturally alkaline, with naturally occurring electrolytes, no additives, no chemical treatment, making it the healthiest choice for you and a guarantee giving mission to those in need.
Today, VITA water can be found in a number of retail locations and hotels, including the chic Hotel Diva and the uber hip Hotel Zetta. Niazi’s message has garnered celebrity attention from followers like Nelly, Michelle Williams (from Destiny’s Child), and Jermaine Jackson, who made a personal endorsement of VITA at Hotel Diva in 2013.
Niazi says proudly, “I can tell you now, that in less than 2 yrs. of business, 20,000 people have access to clean water and yet we’re only just getting started, 20 new projects under construction, with our growth the crisis really does reduce immediately. Our goal is to provide over 9 million people with safe water over the course of 5 yrs. and eventually to eliminate the lack of clean water all together in our life time! Spread the word on a brand that will make the world a better place. Together we can change the world, VITA Water, to health and peace!”
Here are Niazi’s Haute Secrets of San Francisco:
Where were you born: Kabul Afghanistan
How long in San Francisco/Bay Area: 30 years
Favorite Restaurant: Velvet Room
Best place for a power business meeting: Hotel Diva
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Any of the Personality hotels, Hotel Zetta, Galleria Park hotel of JDV’s, etc, to really feel SF’s flavor
Favorite Charity: charity water
All-around favorite spot in San Francisco: Ferry Building
Best Aspect of San Francisco: the culture: chic, green and compassion