HYDRATE: The Dominican Republic
by Susannah McQuitty
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The Dominican Republic (DR) has come a long way toward minimizing waterborne illnesses, and while some are still common, communities are learning and implementing good health and hygiene practices. The DR is one of the best examples of how, once clean water is accessible to all, other needs like education, sanitation, and community development can be resolved.
First HWI filtration system installed: 2002
Current number of installed systems: 73
Targeted areas: Rural, urban, and schools
Story Spotlight: The Preschool at El Almendro
El Almendro in the Dominican Republic has one of HWI’s largest and most impressive water purification systems. It supplies both a clean water store in the local community and the El Almendro Preschool, where children are able to eat healthy meals, drink clean water, and have a place to take a shower before they return home.
The preschool began with people who were willing to make sacrifices for the bigger picture, especially one named Merce—an incredible woman who runs the school.
Merce was a donor living in her native Spain that came to the Dominican Republic several years ago to see where and how her funds were being used. Merce wasn’t particularly impressed with what she saw, but instead of returning to Spain and switching organizations, she stayed and worked to make things better in the community herself.
Now, not only has the HWI water store improved the community’s quality of life, but it also supplies enough water that the preschool can serve 300 children.
Seeing community leaders and site administrators take ownership of their future and their opportunities is inspiring. HWI only provides a blueprint for success: The leaders themselves actually help install the filtration system and now maintain the it, run the store, and reinvest funds back into their community.
Those who live in the rural parts of the Dominican Republic may not have much, but they use what they have to have resounding impact in their world—and that’s exactly the heart that we want to have.
No matter what we have, what we’re given, or what we’re going through, why not work it together for good?
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