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www. WaterForHumans.Org

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Water for Humans Spring Newsletter: April 2011

Saludos from all of us at WFH (which means “Hi” in Spanish)!

Your steadfast support has made a big difference to people in Oaxaca, Mexico – mothers and fathers who are looking to WFH for help in giving their families safer homes and healthier lives.

They send their thanks and we join them: WFH exists because of you!

Some of you have asked me what WFH has achieved so far in 2011. The answer is…a lot!

Meet Ofelia Carrada Maribel Lopez

Last year, your gift provided key seed funding to plan a new sustainable water treatment facility in Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo Etla. Until we reach that important goal, WFH is working in small ways to help the community access clean water.

Professor Ofelia Carrada Maribel Lopez teaches 3rd grade at Valentin Gomez Farias Elementary School, located in the village. Prof. Ofelia said, “Sometimes when you run out of waterjugs and children are still thirsty, they have to drink water from the tap and this causes many diseases.” She tells us that clean filtered water from the tanks already in place would allow the school to stop buying expensive bottled water – and spend the money instead on school supplies.

How is WFH helping Ofelia and her students?

WFH, with full participation from INSO, is raising funds to install filtration systems on the elementary school’s water tanks. Estimated Project Cost: $500 

Meet Ines Avelina Barroso 

Donations like yours are making it possible for WFH to reach into new communities. Ines is a new community partner in the Victor Bravo Ahuja district of the municipality of Santa Lucia del Camino in Oaxaca City. She wrote to Water for Humans and INSO and asked for our help solving her neighborhood’s chronic water shortages.

This is what Ines told us: “Our neighborhood was a landfill and quarry before becoming a residential district. Originally, water service consisted of two spigots; over time, the delivery system was expanded. Now, due to the population growth it is extremely insufficient.  Last year, during the dry season most residences received water only two times per week for few hours per day. The water…is not potable.”

How is WFH helping Ines and her family?

Together with INSO, we have designed 8,000-gallon rainwater catchment systems – a pilot project to be tested in eight homes in the neighborhood homes. WFH submitted a grant proposal on May 2 to the Seattle International Foundation to fund this innovative, low-tech, sustainable solution. Estimated Project Cost: $6,000

On the ground with Nelly, WFH staff in Oaxaca

Your contributions in 2010 made it possible for WFH to hire a half-time staff member in Oaxaca – Nelly Fernandez Tellez. We are grateful (and Nelly is, too)!

Nelly gives WFH a human face – something difficult to do when an organization is headquartered thousands of miles away. She makes sure that community partners in Oaxaca – organizations like INSO and individuals like Ofelia and Ines – have someone they can talk to. Nelly also provides us with critical, on-the-ground updates about the changing situation in Oaxaca.

Recently, Nelly told us:
  • The election of Daniel Ramirez in Villa de Etla means the treatment plant project will go forward.
  • The newly elected mayor of Santa Domingo Barrio Baja Etla, Severo Jesús Santiago Ruíz, is a close confidant of the prior mayor, Maria Soledad Diaz Gonzalez, one of WFH’s greatest champions in Oaxaca.
  • Ex-mayor Diaz met with State Water Commission Rolando García Rodrigo Varela to bring him up to speed on status on replacing the derelict treatment plants in Santa Domingo. During the meeting, he committed his support for our approach and project, which is another key milestone for us.

In Seattle with Rick and Stan

Your assistance motivates WFH’s co-founders, Rick McKenney and Stan Brown to keep focused on the mission: provide low-cost, clean water solutions to underserved populations while ensuring that water remains a local, public resource.
Rick reports, “Seattle University law students, Misha Sandusky and Joe Helt, are working to complete our Federal IRS 501(c)3 paperwork, as part of a course led by Judy Andrews on nonprofit legal issues.” This is an important step in WFH’s growth and stability (although we continue to be gratefully to our fiscal sponsor, A.W.I.S.H).
Stan adds, “We have recruited eight board members, twelve advisers and nineteen dedicated volunteers (in the areas of translation, marketing, development, economics, web development, public health, environmental engineering and cultural affairs).”
Want to volunteer and help the people of Oaxaca? Just contact Rick RickM@WaterforHumans.org or Stan StanB@WaterForHumans.org

What’s next for WFH?

Watch your email inbox in the coming weeks for an important announcement: WFH is partnering with crowdrise.com, an online social networking and philanthropy website, in an innovative fundraising campaign to make sure that Ines and Ofelia’s dreams come true.

Thank you!

You are a person who cares about the world we live in and have demonstrated that by supporting Water for Humans. Our new friends in Oaxaca’s Central Valley say, “Muchas gracias!”

 PS: You can stay in touch with the Water for Humans team by reading our blog or following us on Facebook – almost 300 people already “like” WFH!

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