Doctor raising funds for water
Anita Sthankiya - Aug 22, 2019 - Community

Photo Credit: Dr. Claire Young
The water filtration system that will clean the water for kids in Nicaragua.

For weeks a Kelowna doctor has been working as a medical volunteer at a clinic in rural Nicaragua and has been inspired to help the community with their desperate need for water.

Dr. Claire Young is a family physician who has been volunteering her time at the Roberto Clemente Clinic in Santa Ana, Nicaragua. The rural clinic provides consultations to the surrounding communities, but also runs a number of programs to support the resource-poor area. According to Young, the clinic offers a nutrition program where they donate rice, beans, cornflour, and sugar to the poorest people on a monthly basis.

“Often this is the only food they have and it doesn’t last them the month. I have no idea what they do when it’s all gone,” said Young. “That’s the food. But what about the water? Most people here drink water from heavily contaminated wells and I witnessed the adverse consequences of this on a daily basis. People are getting sick, purely from contaminated well water, but they have zero other water options.”

According to Young, the clinic in the community has set up a program to distribute clean water to schools and health centres, but in order help more of the schools in the community, they need to purchase new water filters and employ a dedicated staff member to run the labour intensive water program full-time. In order for the project to take shape, the clinic needs $1,000 for filters and $330 per month for the wages of the person to run the water program. This is a considerable sum for such an impoverished, rural area.

Touched by the work she witnessed, Young is trying to raise enough water to cover the cost for replacement water filters and cover a salary for someone to run the program for an entire year.

As a gesture of kindness, Young launched the campaign just over two weeks ago and has raised just over $3,500 of her $5,000 goal thanks to a trending campaign on Go Fund Me. Once the fund has hit its target, the money will be forwarded to the clinic in Nicaragua so they can get started right away.

Young says she is hoping to keep the project going for longer than a year, but that will require ongoing funding. She is hoping someone from the Okanagan will reach out to her to discuss ways they can work together to ensure the community in Santa Ana has access to clean drinking water.

The filter system used for the project will remove sediment, foreign objects, impurities, cysts and more while bringing the water up to potable standards. It will take and look like normal tap water, minus the chlorine and fluoride that we have in western tap water.

For more information or to donate, please visit the Go Fund Me page.

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