This is a short update from the project “Safe Drinking Water for 80,000 children in Bolivia”, including an announcement of a special donation opportunity on March 16, 2010.
Whereas the world was observing anxiously the emergencies in Haiti and in Chile, it has gone unnoticed that massive rainfalls in January triggered the Bolivian Government to declare a national state of emergency. In La Paz alone, 22,000 families lost all their belongings due to the heavy rainfalls and subsequent floods.
Nevertheless, many of you did not forget about the project. In spite of global attention being caught by the large-scale disasters in Haiti and Chile, generous donations keep coming in. We would like to thank all of our supporters for their continuing support - your help is a great motivation for us, and even with a small amount we can change the lives of many people for the better.
Meanwhile, Bolivian children want back to school in February 2010. Staff of the SODIS Foundation, together with our partner institution Save the Children, participated in planning workshops with many schools in Oruro, El Alto and Cochabamba. The installation of more SODIS support structures (see pictures) was planned and will be completed in the next few weeks as the project is entering its final year.
During a recent visit to the project, we witnessed that the activities are not only having an impact at schools, but also at homes. For example, Pamela Flores, a mother of a six year old girl who goes to one of the project schools, told us that her daughter requires her to prepare SODIS water every day. Pamela heard from the SODIS method before, but only after seeing it being implemented by the school she started practicing it at home – with support and instructions of her daughter. “We no longer drink untreated water. SODIS is so simple and my daughter also drinks SODIS water at the school” Pamela commented proudly. This is exactly what the project is about: creating awareness, enabling people to change behavior and learn healthy habits. These will last for years to come, providing protection to the families.
Protection and behavior change is also important when disasters strike – not only in Haiti or Chile. The SODIS Foundation is therefore preparing plans to include simple instructions on how to obtain safe drinking water for emergency preparedness plans. In this way, people can be trained before a disaster strikes, and act accordingly in such situations. By now, one thing is clear for the people in Bolivia: after the dry season, the rains will come back every year, and with the rains the floods...
A short notice at last: March 16 (Tuesday) is “Matching Day” at the Global Giving website (only www.globalgiving.org/1905, not www.globalgiving.co.uk). All donations received on that day will be completed by an additional 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. If you donate on that specific day, your contributions will go even further, providing safe drinking water for even more children.
Thank you and best regards,
For the project team: Matthias Saladin
2009 is coming to its end and it’s time to wish everyone a joyful holiday season and all the best for 2010. At the same time, we also want to with you some thoughts about an actual issue:
As many of you have witnessed over the past few days, the climate conference in Copenhagen did not bring about the step ahead which many people were hoping for. This means that more time will be lost for mankind to find better ways of living in dignity without damaging the fundaments of future wellbeing. Nevertheless, at the SODIS Foundation we think that it’s not too late to contribute with our own first steps. Surprisingly, climate change is closely connected to the issues of drinking water (and thus survival) of people in Bolivia (and elsewhere).
As a highly recommendable article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/science/earth/14bolivia.html) points out, glaciers are a low-maintenance form to store fresh water. Conveniently, they retain the water in the rainy season and slowly release it during the dry period. For countries like Bolivia, this is a blessing, thus facilitating agriculture, power generation and development in the valleys and lowlands. However, the glaciers are disappearing quickly: what was known as the “world’s highest ski resort” on Mount Chacaltaya just a few years ago today is a rocky landscape, unable to retain the snow falling on it. Worse, the snow now quickly turns into water, leading to devastating flash floods downstream, a scenario Bolivia is witnessing with increasing frequency. Cities like El Alto are already facing critical water shortages, threatening livelihoods of millions of people.
That is why it is important to do something about climate change, and something about the millions of people who do not have access to safe drinking water. Our project “Safe drinking water for 80,000 children in Bolivia” is just a humble attempt to take a first step. We would like to thank all our supporters for taking this step with us in 2009, and we will keep you informed about the continuing advances and developments. Without your support, this project would not be where it is today.
Thank you again. We wish you happy holidays and all the best for 2010!
Best regards from the SODIS Foundation,
Dear supporters of the SODIS Foundation,
Thank for your continued support and interest in our work.
We are glad to inform you that the project in Bolivia is continuing to progress. Activities in the field finished in November as the schools entered summer holidays, and they will start again in February. It has been a busy year for the SODIS Foundation and its project partner Save the Children Bolivia. In a few months, more than 80,000 children have been trained on simple methods about how to obtain safe drinking water and improve hygiene. Through the parents committees at the schools, more than 20,000 parents were reached as well, and many of them are adopting the healthy habits taught at schools. These results make this initiative one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and the SODIS Foundation is glad to announce that the activities will continue in 2010.
One of the highlights was the participation of many project schools at the international hand washing day on October 15. At public events, children presented street theatres and poetry contests. The innovative mobile hand washing units, which had been developed during this project, also received considerable attention from the public and the media. As you can see from the pictures, it also is a moment of great pride for the children and gives them the opportunity to display their creativity.
We just received news that the in November, the project received donations over the amount of $ 1,131 through the Global Giving website. Thanks to everyone who contributed. We also wanted to let you know that the project is participating in GlobalGiving.co.uk's Christmas Giving Challenge, a fundraising opportunity for non-profit organizations working with communities around the world. Every donation helps, and no donation is too small. You can show your support for the SODIS Foundation for as little as £5 and make a big impact to our project. Just click on this link (www.globalgiving.co.uk/1905) and follow the instructions.
Please spread the spirit of giving and share this email with your friends and family and ask them to help us too. Donations can also be made in dedication to someone (e-gift cards), which makes an excellent present. Giving a perfume to your loved ones is nice, but how much nicer is it to facilitate someone access to safe drinking water?
The whole team from the SODIS Foundation wishes you a happy giving season.
Thank you for your support,