We, Sisters of Charity – Halifax, resolved over a decade ago to “pray, study and act to assure the just sharing of water for life on earth”. Since then, with the help of our many supporters and friends, we have funded Water Projects that have brought clean drinking water and sanitation systems to hundreds of families in Peru and the Dominican Republic.
One such project was in Nuevo Reque, Peru. Due to a lack of affordable housing in the city of Reque, young workers and their families built very basic shelters on whatever land they could find outside the city limits. Despite the complete lack of services – including running water and sewers – this community grew, but its residents struggled to keep their families healthy.
Through your support, we were able to help bring running water to over 300 family homes. This project had the immediate benefit of clean water for drinking and bathing, freeing up much needed money by eliminating the need to purchase water.
Over 6 years later the ripple effect of that water system is proving more beneficial for Nuevo Reque than we could have imagined. Once the water networks were installed, the Reque municipality installed a sewer system. The combination of water and sewer allowed the community to take advantage of governmental public works investments, making possible the construction of a market and an education centre. These led to residents starting small businesses of their own, creating new sources of income for their families.
It is that kind of ongoing success that we hope for in our current project in Comedero Ballo. This small village in the Dominican Republic is located near the Haitian border. The project, a partnership with Hermandad Inc., included building a new water holding tank, fed by an existing well, and installing a system to provide 45 homes in the area with private taps. The homes in this community are spread out over several kilometres, so before the project families spent hours retrieving water from the single hand pump.
We are happy to report that the water tank has now been built and filled. Most of the water supply pipe grid is installed, and water is already flowing to some homes. The local Water Committee is very active, and as with all of our water projects, includes women from the community. The next steps are the installation of 14 eco-latrines.
These projects are indeed life changing; they create healthier families, empower women and allow children the freedom to attend school.