Deerfield Beach, FL – June 15, 2016 – Representatives of Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF) from the US and South Africa successfully completed a small-scale expedition across southern Africa. The group deployed more than 30 water filters during the week-long adventure. They also reinforced relationships in the region, monitored filters deployed in years past and installed new biofoam filters for the first time. The trip further prepared WWIF for next year’s big event; the 10-1-10 Africa Expedition. The ’10-1-10′ in the expedition’s title emphasizes that for every donation of $10, 1 person is provided with clean, safe drinking water for 10 years. (The article continues below the slideshow.)
The major expedition was to be held this year in May. It was postponed until next year, when it became evident that many of the deployment sites on the route were lacking water sources due to severe drought conditions. Seizing the opportunity to make the most of eager volunteers and dedicated sponsors, the group went forward with this year’s trip, but on a smaller scale with fewer filters and sites. The trip was funded entirely by donations from previous years. Donations collected for the major expedition were not used as these funds are earmarked for filter deployments over the next 2-3 years.
The long-lasting effectiveness of WWIF biofilters was reinforced when, upon inspecting a few units in Oshoek installed in May, 2012, they proved to be in excellent working condition. On the first deployment site in Hazyview, the group was assisted by Father Samuel. Traditional biosand filters plus biofoam filters that use Amway’s Blue-Q technology were installed. “It’s exciting that global corporations, non-profit organizations and a school are joined together on this singular mission of providing clean water,” said Ken Lister, VP of Marketing at H2O International South Africa. “This is the kind of unity that actually makes a difference.” The team, which delivered clothes donated by St. Paul Lutheran School of Boca Raton, Florida, also distributed stainless steel water bottles from Paragon Water Systems.
After spending the night in Komatipoort, the team collaborated with non-profit Hands at Work in the northern Swaziland communities of Bhandeni and Msengeni, installing filters in areas that desperately need clean water. The team was delayed along the route to Ndumo due to protests in the Jozini area that were, ironically, caused by water shortages that have plagued the area for more than a year. The desperation and violence of the protests underscored the severity of the situation and the importance of the Foundation’s mission: providing clean, safe drinking water in developing areas.
Day three found the team in Usuthu Gorge in the northern KwaZulu-Natal region. Thirteen filters were installed in five schools. This deployment alone will have a direct, lasting impact on a minimum of 2,000 children. (Given the long-lasting effectiveness of each system, these filters will greatly benefit the next generation of children which have yet to be born.)
Moving north and entering Swaziland, the expedition team arrived to Oshoek, a town with an HIV epidemic and numerous at-risk children. They reunited with Hands at Work, who has a well-established presence in the region. “Hands at Work has been doing great work in this area for many years,” said Guillermo Guzman, CEO and Founder of WWIF. “These are the kinds of partnerships we’re always trying to create and maintain…with efficient organizations that have a mission similar to ours.” Training sessions were held to demonstrate the installation and maintenance of the biosand and biofoam systems. A few of the filters were left with the organizations for them to install in high-priority locations.
The mini expedition sets the stage for next year’s full-scale deployment with numerous sponsors and volunteers. Sponsorships for the May 2017 event will fund future deployments over the following two years. The full list of available sponsorships can be seen here.
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