Children Across America Donate 10,000 LifeStraw Water Purifiers to Children in Africa
WorldServe and Rotary Club help kids give other kids clean water
In a remarkable joining of childlike generosity and technical coordination, a fundraiser organized by a group of kids at the R.H. Smith School in Syracuse, N.Y. to provide clean water for kids in Africa has become a nationwide effort. The fundraiser spread by word of mouth to thousands of other children representing hundreds of schools across the United States. The result was a $50,000 contribution which purchased 10,000 LifeStraw Personal water purifiers, handheld devices that give children in the most remote parts of Africa access to clean, safe drinking water.
Coordination of the donation and distribution of the LifeStraws involved hundreds of people and two key organizations. Martin Brody of the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale, F.L. fielded calls from students, teachers and families across the country wanting to contribute. The Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club is also contributing transportation costs. Rotary International is a natural partner in developing clean water to prevent diarrhea and related life-threatening diseases; the organization has been instrumental in the eradication of polio around the world and has a clean water initiative recognized by the United Nations.
The 10,000 LifeStraw Personal water purifiers were distributed by WorldServe. The LifeStraws are a powerful and practical gift to 10,000 children in rural Africa who are often responsible for walking long distances with sheep, cattle and goats for grazing. Having immediate access to purified water will prevent waterborne illnesses. Water-related disease is the single largest killer of infants in developing countries; diarrhea alone causes 1.8 million child deaths each year and access to safe water is the most important factor in the survival of children under the age of five.
WorldServe distributed the LifeStraw Personal water purifiers among one of East Africa’s most well-known tribes, the Maasai. The Maasai, estimated to number 900,000 people, live in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are known for their bright red clothing, their semi-nomadic pastoralist way of life (raising livestock) and their cultural celebrations. The majority of the Maasai are in dire need of improved water and sanitation.
WorldServe is focused on providing water and sanitation as the first step toward development. WorldServe is developing community Life Centers throughout Africa. Based on the Millennium Villages project’s methodology, the Life Centers helps alleviate poverty by investing in the seven key areas of water and sanitation, electrical power, communications and culture, agricultural development, economic empowerment, health care and education.
“We’re thrilled to receive this donation,” said one WorldServe representative, “because these 10,000 LifeStraws will truly save the lives of African children. A LifeStraw has the power to purify water and prevent diseases that kill millions of people every year. We were honored to get these into the hands of people who need them most.”
The LifeStraw purifiers last up to 12 months and are intended as a short-term answer to the global water crisis that affects 1.1 billion people. The partners involved in this donation are looking toward long-term water solutions as the next step. WorldServe is already a recognized leader in the arena of water access and distribution, drilling water wells that can provide safe water for entire communities.
Based in Springfield, Missouri, WorldServe is a Christian relief and development organization with a special focus on providing clean water and sanitation. The organization also develops community Life Centers that combat poverty in seven strategic ways. For more information, visit www.worldserveintl.org.
About Rotary International:
Rotary International is the world’s first service club organization. Its more than 1.2 million members volunteer their time and talent to further the Rotary motto, Service above self. For more information, visit www.rotary.org.