Club considers aid for African water project
Rotary hears details about involvement
It is a deadly cycle the Rotary club is committed to ending.
Each day in many parts of Africa, children gather contaminated drinking water from nearby rivers to bring back home. The water contains bacteria and water-borne diseases, such as dysentery. Doctors treat the children for the illnesses, but once cured, they go back to drinking the same water and get sick all over again.
“Surgery and medical assistance cannot succeed with no clean water,” said Dr. Jeffrey Moses, speaking at the Del Mar Rotary club meeting. “If we work with healthy water, we can build healthy children, who can lead productive lives.”
Moses was speaking on behalf of a program to install a solar-powered water purifying and pumping machine that would produce 10,000 gallons of drinking water per day — enough for a town of 5,000 people. The unit would be attached to either a school or a clinic, where villagers can get their drinking water, as opposed to taking it from a contaminated river. Children can then devote their time to schooling, and get back on the road to success.
“Rotary International has seen water as its international focus,” Moses said. “It has challenged every club and every district to be involved.”
Each individual club decides how to spend the funds it has raised in three service categories: international, community and vocational.
The most it can donate for the water program is $5,000, while each water-purifying unit costs $40,000. However, that initial $5,000 is matched by Rotary district designated funds, with another $20,000 coming from the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group.
Regardless of whether the Del Mar club chooses to endorse this project, group members are more than welcome to donate independently.
“A lot of what happens after these speakers come is it raises a particular interest in individuals,” said club President Janice Kurth, adding one member already connected with Moses about similar work in Fiji. “We function as a club and do things as a whole, but we also function individually.”
The club will decide in June how it wants to proceed in terms of what programs it will sponsor. Moses, founder of the Solana Beach-based nonprofit Smiles International Foundation, said there are already more than 700 water-purifying units in seven countries including Uganda, Kenya and Sierra Leone. Rotarians in those places are carrying out the tasks, but hoping for more.
“We’re going to look for areas that are best suited for an immediate result so that we can build on that success,” Moses said, adding he has been doing mission work for more than 30 years. “I’ve found that Rotary is a great outlet for honest, charitable work where the motto is truly service above self.”
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