Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Providing fresh water

During our many visits to Haiti since 2009, we have taken a long, hard look at some basic necessities that, while abundant in many parts of the world, are at a premium in Haiti. One of those critical necessities is potable water.

Potable water is pure enough to drink with a low risk of harm, both immediate and long-term. In Haiti, thousands upon thousands of people have inadequate access to potable water. Water sources are often severly contaminated, as most recently demonstrated in the cholera outbreak which plagues the country to this day. (For the latest in the cholera epidemic, please see this article published yesterday.)

A similar water filtration system in Haiti

The Red Thread Promise is working with several other agencies to install a large water filtration system at St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children in downtown Port-au-Prince. Those agencies include Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Friends of St. Vincent's, Rotary Club of Lunenburg and West Tennessee Haiti Partnership. As you know from our many posts, St. Vincent's serves children with a variety of disabilities (including hearing impairment, sight impairment, loss of limbs, etc), providing an education, medical services and home for students and orphans in their care. During the months at the height of the cholera epidemic, the Center's Director had to make critical choices with St. Vincent's limited funds: provide a meal or fresh water for the students. Naturally, water was the choice. Students went with little to no food for some time as funds were constantly being used to purchase expensive clean water.

Working together, our team is currently fundraising and planning for the installation of a water filtration system so that the Center's Director no longer has to make this critical choice. Once in place, a constant source of potable water will be available for the Center, staff and students. Extra water will be sold to the public for a nominal fee in order to generate enough income for the filtration system to be self-sustaining. Routine maintenance will keep the filtration system in operating condition constantly so no child has to go without water.

Thank you for your supporting The Red Thread's efforts to provide clean drinking water to orphans and students at St. Vincent's as well as the people in the surrounding area.

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