Diaspora

Bringing clean water to the world | Local News | rutlandherald.com – Rutland Herald

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Partly cloudy skies early will give way to cloudy skies late. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 37F. Winds S at 15 to 25 mph..
Partly cloudy skies early will give way to cloudy skies late. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 37F. Winds S at 15 to 25 mph.
Updated: February 16, 2022 @ 4:42 pm

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic only recently bringing world-wide attention to the increased importance of safe water and sanitation, a local Rutland-based nonprofit organization has had its eyes set on making these pillars of hygiene more internationally accessible for 23 years.
Pure Water for the World, established by the Brattleboro Rotary Club in 1999 and now centered in Rutland, aims to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to underserved communities internationally.
International locations are established in Trojes and Maraita, Hoduras and in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but in a recent announcement the organization said it plans to move the Haiti location farther north in the country to Limonade, a commune of 69,000 people in the Cap-Haïtien Arrondissement.
The move is a result of recent social, political, environment and pandemic-related developments in the Port-au-Prince region that have made the area less suitable to work in for staff members — of which 90% are native to the communities they serve.
“What (the move) really comes down to is that ability to think long term and sustainably, and to be able to operate in an environment where we know that we’ll be able to carry through and continue to work with the communities that we’re reaching,” said Executive Director Matt Korn.
Some work has been done to serve the northern part of the country already, but the relocated office plans to provide 400 new homes with clean water filters and provide latrines and washrooms to local schools.
Throughout the pandemic, Pure Water for the World has adapted their aid to not only focus on delivering clean water, but to also provide personal protection equipment (PPE), educational videos on related topics and hands-free hand-washing stations for their communities.
“We’re all really passionate and really strive to ensure that the families that we work with (are) having improved access to safe water and sanitation. That’s the goal. And that’s what we all work towards,” said Pure Water for the World’s Deputy Director Jamin Gelder.
According to Pure Water for the World’s website, 70% of Haitians do not have access to safe and reliable sources of water, and as a result, waterborne pathogens are a leading cause of death each year.
And with the pandemic, a need for clean water and sanitation practices is now more important than ever.
Haitian staff member Junior Seraphin, who has been with the organization since 2009, said his involvement with Pure Water for the World has been the best opportunity for him to contribute to the elimination of the diseases that ravage Haitian communities.
“I agree to participate in (Pure Water’s) mission, which is to see a Haiti in which all communities have safe water,” Seraphin said. “As much as I can, I will put my strength with Pure Water for the World to achieve this goal in order to improve the living conditions of each Haitian.”
And it’s not just those who work in these underserved communities who have helped aid Pure Water for the World’s goals.
As a Rotary-built organization, Rotarians across the northeast and Florida — including local organizations like the Rotary Club of Rutland and Rutland South Rotary — have played a major role in aiding the continued operation of Pure Water’s programs.
President Peg Lucci of the Rutland South Rotary said though her group’s contributions are primarily financial, she feels proud to be involved with an organization that aligns so closely with Rotary values.
“Being a Rotarian is to think of ways to impact your own community and internationally,” Lucci said. “Rutland is … the kind of community that cares about its people — but its people are global, as well as local.”
A myriad of ways to donate to Pure Water and their cause can be found on their website and current funds raised towards their new Haiti location will be matched up to $85,000 by the board of directors and other local donors. Additionally, a silent auction is planned for World Water Day on March 22.
“It all starts with water, and if you can give somebody … clean drinking water, sanitation and important hygiene education, you can give them hope for a brighter future,” said previous Pure Water executive director and current board of directors member Carolyn Crowley-Meub.

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