In celebration of World Water Day 2015, Jeffrey Sejour went to the American Chemistry Council in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate how the technology works to a group of 24 students from a local Montessori School on Capitol Hill. He also shared his experience working to bring safe drinking water to Haitians. These students and their teachers showed a tremendous enthusiasm for science and chemistry. The students also participated in a safe drinking water activity.
Following the demonstration, ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley presented Jeffrey Sejour with a $5,000 donation to International Action to assist drinking water chlorination efforts with schools in Haiti.
This cannot be said enough: Clean, safe water increases school attendance and a child’s ability to learn.
Ecole Nationale de K-Rock in Jacmel is home to 2,000 students. Before this past month, there was no clean, safe water to be had at K-Rock. International Action changed this with the installation of a chlorinator, water tank, and water pump.
The K-Rock school is special, and it starts with Director Jeudy, who has been working in Haiti’s education sector for 30 years. He left the United States for Haiti because he believes that education is the key for young Haitians. When he noticed the attendance rate declining because his students did not have shoes to wear on their walk to school, he started buying sneakers for the entire school. He believes “education is not a negotiable issue.”
K-Rock has leadership, quality teachers, and goes above and beyond to ensure the students receive the best education they can. Now Director Jeudy has another tool to help his students with, one of the most important: clean water.
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.
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