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SmileBlog

Starting Our Clean Water Project

Miss the previous update about building the Malezi Centre? Read it here.

I have traveled across the world from the Arctic to the deserts of Africa, from war zones to disaster zones, from Everest to the jungles. I have lived with tribes and indigenous communities. I have been shot at, stoned by a mob, threatened with machetes. I have lived through earthquakes and seen massacres. One thing I know is there really is a beauty deep inside us all and wherever we are, all I see are beautiful people.
— Anonymous Living Smile donor

And I thought I had travel experience.

These words come from a new donor and friend in the UK (who wishes to stay anonymous) who I was blessed to meet briefly after a talk I gave in London earlier in the year on the Effort Less tour.

He generously sponsored the full cost of the Malezi School's clean water project—a project that will allow us to sell clean water to the nearby community, which will be a primary source of income (outside of  school fees from students) the school will be sustained by.

Trust me when I tell you schools with sustainability plans like this are rare, most are cushioned by outside donations.

What's extraordinary about receiving this gift now is that by launching our water project ahead of the school, our school — which is not yet a school — will be contributing around $300/month towards its own start-up costs, which is a great symbol of our vision of self-reliance. If anybody has seen another case like this, let me know. We might be the first to adopt the model.

The donor requested the following quote from a Chris Brown song to be painted on the 10,000 litre tank we will purchase, "Everywhere I go, everywhere that I've been, the only thing I've seen is beautiful people." Considering my affinity for using positive sayings for beautification purposes, I was happy to receive the request.

And to all of you would be fundraisers, project starters, and the like, this is a great sign of the kind of amazing, good hearted people you will attract. They just show up, sometimes out of the blue, with powerful gifts to share.

Currently, the school is just below the $6k mark of a needed $26k to start construction. We recently signed the papers making us official landowners of the plot of land the school will be built on, our water project is starting soon, and I leave next week for a few fundraising events in the US that should give us a strong gust of wind.

Some stats about drinking water in the so called 3rd world from water.org that apply to our project:

  • Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 - $34, depending on the region and technology.
  • [The water and sanitation] crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
  • More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.
  • Of the 60 million people added to the world's towns and cities every year, most move to informal settlements (i.e. slums) with no sanitation facilities.

Continue to next update about the Malezi Centre.