By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor
By early this week, Louisville-based Water with Blessings had sent 400 water filters to survivors of the April 25 earthquake in Nepal.
The organization, which already has partners in Nepal and training materials in Hindi, hopes to send at least 600 more water filters to survivors in the coming days.
According to the Bishop of Nepal, access to clean water will determine whether survivors live or die.
“You see people queuing up for water even here” in Kathmandu, the capitol, Bishop Paul Simick told Catholic News Service on April 30. “Unless they have drinking water, medicines and shelter, epidemics will break out, and it will be a big tragedy.”
Time is running out for victims, who are suffering because aid cannot reach them, said Bishop Simick, brother of Sister of Charity of Nazareth Cecilia Simick, who also serves in Nepal.
Water with Blessings and a several of its partners, including the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, hope to be part of the solution.
“What kills people after all kinds of natural disasters — what kills people more than the disasters — is the dirty water,” said Ursuline Sister of Mount St. Joseph Larraine Lauter, the executive director of Water with Blessings. “Time is of the essence.”
The charity hopes to collect $30,000 in donations to supply a total of 1,000 filters to mothers around Nepal. The filter supplier — Sawyer Products — usually charges Water with Blessings $60 for the Sawyer PointONE filters. But in the wake of the Nepal temblor, the filters headed to the shaken nation cost only $30.
That $30 can provide clean water to three or so families for 10 years, according to Water with Blessings.
Water with Blessings supplies these filters to mothers in struggling communities around the world. The organization sends the filters with groups that are already going to these communities for service work. Before their trips, these groups learn how to train mothers to use and maintain the filters.
The recipients are required to share their filters with other nearby families.
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Nepal were already distributing the filters there when the quake hit. And they are continuing that work; they’ve already received 60 filters to distribute since the earthquake. But they can’t shoulder the entire burden.
So far, the filters also are being distributed by Global Mission Nepal, Heartland International Ministries, Asal Chhimekee Nepal (Good Neighbour Nepal), Tia’s Nepal Relief Project (International Medical Relief) and Circle of Health, said Sister Lauter, noting that “all are reputable organizations with solid experience in Nepal.”
Water with Blessings hopes to connect with others heading to Nepal and send filters with those groups. Sister Lauter said the kits are relatively lightweight, for those considering the trip and concerned about luggage limitations. Kits for 80 mothers only add up to about 50 pounds, she said.
Donations may be sent to Water With Blessings, 11714 Main Street, Suite D, Middletown Ky., 40243. Donations may also be made on the organization’s website, www.waterwithblessings.org.
Sister Lauter added, “If someone has a large donation, it would be great if they could call to let us know, as that would help us to plan immediate use.”