Dominicans Lead the Charge toward Clean Water

07/25/13

Dave Thomas watches proudly as Yelin, a young man who grew up in Children of the Nations' (COTN) child sponsorship program in the village of Altagracia, Dominican Republic, sets up the water purification system. Dave, an expert in clean water systems, has been training Yelin on how to use this one. Yelin pours one small cup of salt into a long tube of water and sends an electric charge through the water using a large battery. In ten minutes he’s produced enough chlorine to purify the water in two 100-gallon tanks.  

 
Yelin pours salt into the water purifier, creating chlorine to cleanse the water
Yelin pours salt into the water purifier, creating chlorine to cleanse the water and make it safe for children to drink.
 
Thanks to partners like you, these two tanks can supply the entire village of Altagracia with safe, clean water. But Dave knows—after years of installing water systems all around the world—you need a special person like Yelin in the community to make clean water a daily reality. “He gets it,” Dave says of Yelin. “He’s a young man of significance when it comes to the health of Altagracia.”
 
Dave checks a water tank in a nearby village.
Dave checks a water tank in a nearby village. This tank is just like the ones in Altagracia. The purification system that goes with it is made up of simple parts, many of which can be easily replaced when necessary.
 
Before this system was installed one year ago, children had to purchase bottled water if they wanted water that wasn’t contaminated with bacteria and parasites. But this could get expensive, so people would often drink straight from the tap or spigot. In Altagracia, tap water is pumped in from a local government facility. Every once in a while the water is chlorinated, but there’s no way of telling if and when that will happen. 
 
But now, Altagracia has a reliable source of clean water. Yelin checks the tanks every two weeks, using a pool tester, and adds chlorine as needed. With regular access to safe, clean water, the children don’t suffer from stomachaches and diarrhea like they used to. 
 
Yelin (center), Dave, and friends have worked hard to provide clean water
Yelin (center), Dave, and friends have worked hard over the last year to provide safe, clean water for the children of Altagracia. 
 
Yelin knows it takes more than clean water to keep the children healthy. That’s why he’s eager to fight disease on multiple fronts. He helps coordinate the community’s health committee and the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) club, and hopes to study biology in university as soon as he’s able. After that, Yelin hopes to become a physician and continue serving his community and his country. "I want to be a part of something bigger that helps the community," he says.  
 
Help children in Africa and the Caribbean by sponsoring children like Yelin today! 
Or, give to a specific project like the clean water systems in Altagracia.