By Jon Kaufman, a member of the Rotary Club of Peninsula Sunrise, California, USA
I was excited to read about the recent agreement for pilot projects between the Peace Corps and Rotary in Thailand and the Philippines. Our Rotary club’s project was massively involved in these two countries in 2013, without any Rotary Foundation grant funds.
We started a project, H2OpenDoors, that – as the name suggests – works in two tracts. First, the project provides the best water purification technology for the poorest villages and schools. And second, we provide opportunity for the local village to sell the surplus capacity of the water. Further, the project brings our own local high school students on the installation expeditions. We installed two SunSpring systems in Thailand in February, and then two more in Tacloban, Philippines, in December after the super typhoon.
Our upcoming installation is for a village of 1,250 residents in Jalisco State, Mexico, where contaminated water sources force these exceedingly poor people to buy bottled water, spending nearly 25 percent of their income. We will bring 12 high school students from Redwood City, California, along with several teachers for Labor Day week.
Then, the expedition will move on to Leon where former Mexican President Vicente Fox and his staff will conduct a three-day leadership academy for the students. Many of these kids are of Latino decent and know little about Mexico, and less about how governments operate. This promises to be a transformative trip, for the residents of El Fresnito village, and for the students and teachers from California.
If you were at the recent Rotary Convention in Sydney, Australia, 1-4 June, you may have seen our project booth in the House of Friendship, where we displayed a SunSpring. These systems are solar and wind powered, and unlike other systems, remove the pathogens with membrane technology rather than treating the water with chlorine or other chemicals. As a result of our booth, we received a $2,000 grant from Rotary Australia World Community Service.
If you have any questions, or we can offer guidance for your club to get involved in viable solutions to the global water crisis, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.