Fabias, located in rural Artibonite a few miles outside of Port-au-Prince, is home to over 30,000 people. Isolated and with very limited water resources, Fabias has only had one well with a hand-pump to supply water for the thousands in the town. Up until now, that is. International Action Director, Jeffery Sejour, was fortunate to be there the day we delivered and installed the first water tank at a local school, Presbytérale School of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the three community centers in Fabias we will be providing with clean water.
“When we first got there, a crowd of excited kids ran up to our truck from the school yard. Father Alexis Robinson, who is in charge of the school, told us how very appreciative he was of the new water treatment system and that this was a great opportunity for the community, especially the children, who will benefit the most from access to clean water.”
The new 2,000 gallon water tank, pump, and chlorinator International Action has provided will give over 300 students and their families the gift of safe, clean water for many years to come. Three spigots inside the school will provide water for the 312 students, aged kindergarten through sixth grade, while three spigots on the outside the school fence will server their families in the community. In Fabias, clean water will not only mean improved health for families and their children but will also mean that students at Presbytérale School of St. Francis can focus on learning and not on their thirst. It will mean less time collecting water, a task that often falls on children, and more time in the classroom, where they belong.
One child out of every eight dies before the age of five of preventable diseases, such as diarrhea, typhoid, and malaria – the highest mortality rate among children in the Western Hemisphere. To make matters worse, most schools in Haiti have no access to clean water. Lack of hygiene and sanitation has become a major problem for Haitian students. They fall ill regularly and are unable to attend classes or fail to perform well.
International Action has made it its goal to stop this and keep children in school by providing clean water and allowing them to receive the education they deserve to build a prospering Haiti for the future. In the past, we have provided and installed water tanks in some of Haiti’s most impoverished and densely populated communities in the slum Cité Soleil. Out of over 194 schools that we have protected in the past, in 2011, we collaborated with the Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Action Network member Architecture for Humanity to install the first clean water system for the Southeast water project at École La Dignité, a primary school in the town of Cayes-Jacmel. With our installation, the students now have safe, treated water to drink during the school day. They can also bring water from the tank home with them to protect their families and to quench their thirst at night. École La Dignité is headed by Mrs. Vivianne Vieux who says that the 2,000-gallon water tank means that her 227 students no longer will have to worry about waterborne illnesses.
Please help support education in Haiti with clean, safe water by making a donation.
Rochelle is a young girl with a dream of becoming a nurse. Like many of her 900,000 fellow Haitians, she had an obstacle in the way of her achieving her dream.
Before International Action installed chlorinators in Rochelle’s neighborhood, the water was unsafe to drink. Disease was rife. One of Rochelle’s sisters had to stop going to school for two months because she had chronic diarrhea caused by contaminated water. Rochelle’s family had to spend their savings on drinking water.
Once the chlorinator was installed, clean water became affordable, and life got better. Rochelle’s parents could save money for the girls’ education again. Rochelle’s sister recovered and has not missed any school time in two years. That’s how a chlorinator helped Rochelle to start nursing school. Rochelle started nursing school in 2013.
Ten thousand people call Mont Jolly home. Clean water is available to them seven days a week because they have an International Action chlorinator. There is a small fee to buy water from the community tank, but even people from outside the neighborhood are willing to pay it because they know the water is safe. Since the installation of the chlorinator, water sales have doubled, accordingto community president Billy Osbene. Income from water sales now funds education for the children of Mont Jolly.
Although most people in Haiti live on less than $600 a year, the vast majority of schools are private. Usually, families pay dearly for their children to go to school, or teachers work as volunteers. The central government is trying to increase free public education, but the people of Mont Jolly decided to do it on their own. With funds from water sales, they hired eight school teachers. Children, many from the community’s poorest families, go to school for free in Mont Jolly.
The chlorinator brought clean water to Mont Jolly. Clean water brought public revenue. Public revenue paid teachers’ salaries, and made education attainable at last. And that’s how safe water led to more teachers!
This is Abigail. She is 14. Abigail has big dreams. She wants to be a doctor. She wants to have a big family when she grows up. She wants to speak five languages. She wants to be a leader and help improve the community around her. She wants to start with clean water.
There are 1,200 children like Abigail at the CFM school in downtown Port-au-Prince. Thanks to International Action’s chlorinator, Abigail and her classmates are healthy because they have clean, safe water every day. Abigail is one of the student leaders at CMF and she wants help spread the word about the importance of clean water, how it improves people’s health, and in turn, their happiness.
Abigail and the director of the school want to start a community service project in which student “Clean Water Ambassadors” visit other schools to teach their peers about potable water. They have asked our staff to lead a week of seminars and trainings for the new Clean Water Ambassadors. The program will begin September, 2013, as the current school year has already come to a close. They plan to reach at least five schools in 2013.
Abigail wants to lead change, she wants to help other Haitians protect their water supplies. We are with her. With your support we can support the Clean Water Ambassadors and install chlorinators in more schools.
All the best,
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