In the hallway of Water Missions International’s Charleston headquarters, founder Molly Greene points out a framed photo of Haitian children walking a dirt road to get bucketfuls of contaminated water from a capped spring. Farther down the hall, a photo shows people in Uganda holding up glasses of the opaque water that they once had to drink every day. Some visitors look at the picture and do not realize the liquid is water.
“People think it’s a Nehi orange drink,” Greene says. According to WMI, more than 884 million people — one in eight worldwide — do not have access to clean drinking water. It’s a problem that kills nearly 6,000 people a day, most of them children.
WMI responds to this crisis by providing filtration systems, latrines, and hygiene training in some of the countries that need them most: Belize, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. A single water pump costs $7,000 to $12,000, and it provides potable water for up to 3,000 people a day for at least 20 years.
The home base for WMI’s worldwide operations is in West Ashley. They can use volunteers for, among other things, assembling and packing filtration systems in the warehouse. You can also sign up to give a monthly donation at watermissions.org/give. WMI is a faith-based Christian organization, and part of its mission is to evangelize “in a sensitive, non-threatening way,” according to the organization’s website.
City Paper‘s own Joshua Curry will be in Haiti in the coming weeks, during which he will get a firsthand look at the organization’s work. Stay tuned for photos and a look at what WMI is doing in and around the Southern coastal town of Jacmel.