Réa Dol to Distribute Potable Water to Camps - August 15, 2011
It has been a year and a half since the Haiti earthquake. Hundreds of thousands of her citizens are still displaced, living in the countless camps that now speckle Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. The health and safety of those camps residents have yet to be ratified and water born illness, namely cholera, has tripled in the past few months. While everyone waits for development agencies, NGO's, local and international governments to organize and implement any kind of rebuilding effort, and for those billions of dollars in international pledges to show up, things like access to clean potable drinking water is still remains a top priority for preventing the spread of disease.
SOPUDEP Founder and Director Réa Dol never meant to fall into the realm of disaster relief, but as she has said time and time again, her life's mission is to help her fellow country men and women in whatever way she can. In addition to her fight for free and accessible education, economic development, and everything in between that seeks to empower the poor, she has been there for her people after any natural disaster. After the earthquake, Réa transformed her school and her home into a makeshift clinic and shelter, organized rescue parties and secured massive quantities of food that fed thousands of families for months.
As things settled, Réa refocused her efforts on once again providing her students an education and getting a women's micro-credit program off the ground. However, after cholera was suspected of accidentally being introduced into Haiti's water system by South Asian UN personal caring the illness, and the poor sanitary conditions in these makeshift camps making it exponentially worse, it was only natural that Réa would want to help in whatever way she could. This desire to help took the form of educating camp residents and her students on sanitary practices and standards. It seems typical for Réa however, that it was only a matter of time before her responsibilities to her people would once again broaden.
Last week, a delegation from The Nation of Islam came to visit her, bringing with them an MMP water filtration unit. The MMP, or Mobile MaxPure® built by the WorldWater corporation, is a solar-powered generator with a built-in system for the purification of polluted freshwater sources. This system can pump and purify an average of 30,000 gallons each day.
Réa was given the purifier because of her ability to organize the grassroots community and effectively implement projects for the poor and will be shared with other Haitian grassroots organizations in order to reach more camps. Amongst the members of the delegation was an engineer who held a training session for the use and maintenance of the machine. With this device, SOPUDEP and other grassroots groups can provide hundreds of thousands of gallons of potable water a week to various camps in need and thereby contribute to the health and well being of their own citizens.
We will keep you updated on the progress of the project as it unfolds.
The Sawatzky Family Foundation