Lifestyles

A helping hand for Haiti

Judy Douglas, a retired registered nurse and volunteer health and education consultant with Water Project for Haiti, takes a break to get a cuddle from a toddler at a women’s health conference in Borel. “It brought 89 women together where they could sleep and be fed and pampered and loved and taught about many different things, as education is so key in Haiti now,” said Douglas. “They are such a resilient people, capable of many things, but have not had the learning opportunities.” - photo submitted
Judy Douglas, a retired registered nurse and volunteer health and education consultant with Water Project for Haiti, takes a break to get a cuddle from a toddler at a women’s health conference in Borel. “It brought 89 women together where they could sleep and be fed and pampered and loved and taught about many different things, as education is so key in Haiti now,” said Douglas. “They are such a resilient people, capable of many things, but have not had the learning opportunities.”
— image credit: photo submitted

Editor’s note: The following is from Water Project for Haiti.

Did you drink any water today? How about coffee or tea? Perhaps you washed your hands, took a shower or flushed a toilet. Maybe you did some dishes or started a load of laundry. Did you question whether or not the water was safe? For most of us, access to potable water is taken for granted. We are very lucky people.

Globally, more than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related causes. The elderly and small children are especially susceptible to water-borne diseases. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every four hours (source: World Health Organization).

In Haiti, the water is not fit to drink. Though the tiny island nation has long had water problems, they were brought to the attention of the international community in a new way in 2010 when a cholera outbreak infected more than 470,000 people and killed nearly 7,000 (source: CDC). Cholera is a disease of poverty and is easily stopped with access to clean drinking water, sanitation facilities and education.

That’s where Water Project for Haiti (WPH) comes in. WPH is a faith-based organization based in Vernon that provides clean water solutions to people in central Haiti. Through the production and installation of residential biosand filters, families realize the benefit of water that is 99 per cent free of disease-causing pathogens and microbes.

Board president Kyle Adam said the group uses the technology developed by the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, a Calgary company, to provide biosand water filters.

“The filters enable users to filter as much water as they need at no extra cost, making it possible for them to use treated water for many different daily needs. It’s really a win-win, since nearly all of the materials used in production are bought locally and local people are employed.”

Adam has been to Haiti several times to work with the team and has seen first-hand the impact clean water can make in people’s lives.

Adam is interested in adding some Vernon people to the board of directors. He would also like to get churches, schools, scout troops and others involved in this life-saving work.

There are a number of ways to get involved. WPH is a non-profit organization that operates on the generosity of supporters. A $50 donation covers the production cost of one filter and provides decades of clean water to an entire family. Your donation also helps keep Haitians employed at our production facility in Borel.

A personal visit is a great way to see the need and get personally involved. You and your group can experience the beauty of Haiti and work side-by-side with WPH technicians as they visit Haitian homes.

Consider serving on the board or spearheading local fundraising efforts.

On May 21 there will be a fundraiser which Kyle will be attending for another initiative which WPH supports. OSAPO (www.osapo.org)  is a remote clinic/hospital in the mountains above Montrouis and we are looking to raise money to build on an addition that will house an operating room workroom for decontamination of supplies and sterilizing them, ready for use again where HIV has become a major issue. The event takes place at the Elks Hall in Vernon, with a dinner and silent auction starting at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25, available at the Bean Scene; donations for the silent auction are welcome.

WPH is a faith-based organization. We appreciate prayers for the project, our staff in Haiti and our board of directors.

For more information, e-mail Adam at kadam@waterprojectforhaiti.com or visit www.waterprojectforhaiti.com.

 

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