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