July 18th, 2019
Working to Deliver Fresh Water to Schools Across the World
Clean water is something we in the developed world often take for granted. But, according to the World Health Organization, 785 million people around the globe lack even basic drinking water.
Unclean water can carry diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid and even polio. For children in many parts of the world, this is a real and daily threat.
Thankfully, there are people who want to help.
Watering Minds is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping bring clean, safe water to schools across the globe. They believe that safe water is a basic human right, and as such, their mission is to create a world where every school child has access to clean drinking water.
Here at Watermark Designs, we believe strongly in Watering Minds’ program, so we wanted to help. In the past year, we’ve been partnering with Watering Minds, and we are so proud of the work they are doing.
The Story of Watering Minds
In 2010, Jeri Stein was working in the decorative plumbing business. It was a rewarding career and brought her fulfillment, but she wanted to do something more. It was that year that a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, causing widespread destruction and sparking a humanitarian crisis.
The earthquake brought the country to its knees, killing 200,000+ and triggering a cholera outbreak that endangered many more lives. Jeri wanted to help and volunteered to join the people on the ground fighting to support Haiti in the recovery efforts.
Years later, in 2016, Jeri met Jim Chu. He’d also been in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, and, after most of the recovery efforts were over, he stayed in the country to set up a safe water enterprise called dloHaiti.
dloHaiti is a water kiosk model which set up small water manufacturing plants in communities throughout the country. These plants provided enough clean and properly treated water on a daily basis for the local people.
The meeting created Watering Minds and a goal to deliver safe water to schools. Together, Jeri and Jim pooled their experience and connections to help address one of the biggest problems around the world.
In Haiti, 60% of people live on less than $1.50 a day. This level of poverty makes providing clean water to schools a huge challenge. Watering Minds set out to tackle the water problem, and by 2018, they had grown to provide safe water to 150 schools and over 33,000 students.
Today, the project isn’t just limited to Haiti. This school year they will be serving over 150 schools in India, a pilot program of 8 schools in Cambodia and plan to expand to Ghana in the near future. Their goal is to reach 500,000 more students by 2022.
We asked Jeri about the future for Watering Minds: “Our goal is to continue to partner with local organizations to expand access to safe drinking water for children around the world. We don't want to just focus on providing clean water, but also on teaching the children why it is so important for their health that they only drink from trusted water sources and along with providing education on personal hygiene.”
Collaborating With Watermark
Avi Abel, the President of Watermark, met Jeri in the decorative plumbing industry where she worked, and when Jeri approached him about donating, Avi didn’t hesitate. “It’s a great cause, and Jeri is a tireless worker. With Jeri involved, I knew the money would get to the people who need it.”
Watermark is focused on providing plumbing and bathroom accessories to high-end, luxury customers. Watering Minds, however, offered an opportunity to help the poorest in society, too.
“We sell specialized, relatively expensive faucets when there are so many in the world who can’t even afford clean water. Working with Watering Minds enabled us to not only work with those who can afford specialty plumbing but also help those who can’t,” says Avi.
Last year, Watermark raised $10k in honor of the 10 year anniversary of the Brooklyn collection, and have donated proceeds from every sale of the Brooklyn collection since. In 2019, we hope to raise even more.