Globals For Solidaritè ‘s journey to Haiti

We embarked on our journey to Haiti on March 22nd, 2014, with the goal to document the voices of unheard grass-root organizations there. Through our meetings with community leaders, we were able to better understand their work in context with the myriad challenges the people of Haiti face. On previous excursions to the country, we studied the history of foreign and internal political corruption, overwhelming poverty rates, and insufficient educational opportunities in Haiti. Our recent trip in March helped us connect the dots, to understand the relationship between these issues.

Each group with whom we met expressed concern over the prevalent resistance to change from their government and the overbearing grasp politics held over the people working to achieve self-sufficiency for Haiti’s poor. The perpetual corruption has been deeply ingrained in Haiti, dating back to the days it became the first independent black state in 1804. For this reason, the cycle of exploitation, social injustice, and political farce in Haiti continues and is perhaps best highlighted by the foreign-backed coups against Aristide, the first democratically elected president with an overwhelming 67% majority in 1991 and later 92%, in 2004. Another example of the corruption that plagues the country is the recent exclusion of the Famni Lavalas Party in the latest elections, composed of over 90% of the Haitian population, particularly those who are living in poverty.

For these political reasons, coupled with the immense issues the people of Haiti face as a result of oppressive poverty, Globals For Solidaritè ‘s charter is to stand in solidarity with grass-root organizations that strive to build Haiti from the ground up. The voices of Haiti reveal the strength and infinite hope that embodies the spirit of this impoverished nation.

A fundamental issue in Haiti is the lack of access to sanitary water. Through the generous donations supplied by RainCatcher, we were able to distribute five water filters to areas. By providing a source of clean water to 2 different communities, we were able to make a dramatic impact to people’s livelihood there.

The inhumane conditions we witnessed at the tent city, Camp Acra, in Petionville, perhaps most graphically, highlighted the need for clean water — a basic human necessity. 6,000 Haitians have been forced to live in this tent city since the earthquake in 2010 and despite years of imploring those in power to improve the conditions in the area, nothing has been done to alievate the suffering there. Acra decided to take matters into their own hands and created a board within their community to address the issues they encounter on a daily basis.

We had the opportunity to meet with the board, led by activist Elie – and it was clear the health and wellbeing of thousands were dependent on clean water. Although there is a water pump that provides water to the camp, the sanitation is questionable and the cost is unreasonable for people in this area. For this reason, we decided to give Elie three RainCatcher water filters to disperse amongst members of the community.

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This is an image that depicts the housing within Acra’s tent city, just outside the room we met the board in.

One of the three filters was directly given to a woman, Butau Marie Math to aid her six children under the age of ten. Supporting a family in the constraints of a tent city is unbearably difficult and by providing Butau Marie with a source of clean water, we have given her the ability to worry about one less obstacle facing her children. When we placed the filter in her possession, she expressed a sense of overwhelming gratitude and relief for the support that has been denied so persistently. These filters not only provided clean water for her family, but were deemed a gift representing solidarity and hope. There was no greater sense of the donations impact then being greeted by the smiling faces of Batau Marie Math’s children.

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Above is an image of Butau Marie Math after receiving her water filter and her children, who’s smiles reassured the value of our distributions.

The remaining two filters were placed in the hands of Sakala, an oasis amongst Cite Soleil ruins. This organization works to encourage the youth in the slum to follow a positive path despite the circumstances into which they were born. This safe haven is complete with a soccer team, community garden, library and computer lab. The beautiful garden built on what once was a junkyard, is a symbol of Sakala’s mission: to promote a positive outlet for the youth to make life out of destruction. This oasis gives children the ability to escape the horrors hovering their community by providing a support system and place of hope for them to grow.

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Above is a photograph taken on the outskirts of Sakala. The image reveals the conditions that the community surrounding the organization lives in.

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Sakala’s soccer field, library, and auditorium provided for the community.

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This is a section of the community garden built upon a junk yard that supplies food for the youth and families associated with the organization.

When discussing the water situation with the leaders of Sakala, we were told about the lack of focus on clean water, and therefore the lack of availability for it. Since this organization has been working so diligently on providing sources of nutrition for the youth through the garden, a subsequent neglect toward the need for water has been apparent. For this reason, the two water filters provided by RainCatcher.Org were given to Sakala to supply the children with a source of clean water. They will be keeping the filters in the common room to share with those who enter the oasis.

Through the distribution of these filters, and the questions we addressed when meeting with the organizations, the immanent need for clean water in many communities was revealed. Our main focus in assisting these grass root organizations doesn’t directly address these issues, but through the distribution of these filters, our eyes were opened to the dire need for access to clean water.

Thanks to RainCatcher, we were able to directly aid women and children in neglected communities. Globals for Solidaritè takes pride in standing in solidarity with Haitian grass root organizations through the support of education, empowering women and youth, and increasing the standard of living. Through the assistance of RainCatcher’s, we were able to expand our reach with direct, tangible impact. The ability to provide these hard working individuals with access to clean water, has hydrated the Haitian spirit, revitalizing hope in the hearts of the suffering, and most important of all, has helped the people of Haiti build their country from the ground up.

-Audrey Cashen and Emily Laurance

Standard High School, Masaka, Uganda

It was a long day. Monsoon like conditions made for unsafe and very difficult travels. But we are RainCatcher’s and catch this rain we will.

The last of the new schools, Standard High School in Masaka, Uganda was ahead. This would be an unfortunate visit because the children were on their winter break, enjoying their families for the holiday in December.

As we arrived we saw the rainwater-harvesting tank that a few people at a 4th of July party in Malibu got together and contributed to so these high school students could stay in school and get clean water, not having to leave school to collect water.

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According to Melinda Kramer, Executive Director of Women’s Earth Alliance, “In some parts of Africa, women and children spend eight hours a day collecting water.”

A special thank you goes out to:

Suzanne, Gabby and Max Donovan,
Rand Lennon,
Amy Hendrix,
Simon Kinberg,
and Karene Smith

for donating their dollars to help get clean water to children in Uganda.

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In six months, for the projects first check up, we will be able to see the children drinking the water and sharing the love.

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Peace to you this holiday season!

Uganda, December 2013: A Recap

RainCatcher just returned from another wonderful journey to Uganda. We reunited with a lot of our friends and colleagues, and met with amazing new people as well, who are focused on helping us get clean water to as many as possible in the region.

Our Uganda Country Direction, Dennis Ssebuggwawo, helped us assess seven new locations in the area, including several schools, a hospital and an orphanage.


This trip, we were lucky enough to have Tyson join us again and help spread some joy to the kids. Tyson also started a personal campaign to help raise money by doing pushups throughout his 10 days in Uganda. His 10,000 pushups in 10 days campaign was a huge hit with the kids.

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Tyson captured a sweet video with some of the kids at a local school and you can watch it right HERE.

We visited Masaka with Crestants to review the eight new schools they completed for the Phase II construction. We knew this would be a slow day with the rain making the terrain muddy and it was the only day we would have with kids because they get out for winter break on December 1, but these 4 locations stayed in school just for us.

On Dec. 6, we started on our way to Mbarara.  On the way we saw people getting dirty water in a pit by the side of the road. We stopped and did a full one-hour filter presentation and gave out filters to some of the families that did not have access to clean water.

Overall, out trip back was productive and positive. We are diligently working on bringing clean water to many more locations throughout the region and are constantly improving upon the current rain-harvesting locations that are already working out there.

With every trip to Uganda, we learn a little more and come back with more motivation and inspiration as ever before. This next year is going to be an exciting one and we hope you’ll join us in making some clean water dreams come true for thousands of children and families.

The poisoned water hole

In June 2012, RainCatcher had the opportunity to provide clean water to a community of 7,000 people near Mbarara, Uganda who had undergone a frightening experience…

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Sign leading up to the Itendero Senior Secondary School where the children drank from the poisoned water hole

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The elders that told us the story of the landowner that poisoned the communities water source and the children that suffered

Five years prior to RainCatcher’s visit, there was an incident involving children fetching water from a local watering hole. It was located on a private plot of land where the children would cross a field to collect water for themselves and their families. The closest alternative for these children was an inconsistent source, and when available the water could be contaminated. Otherwise the children had to make a three-kilometer trip to a well that was sometimes shared with animals, and then carry large containers of water back to their village.

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Measuring up the school for a rainwater harvesting tank. The field behind the school is where the poisoned water hole is located.

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Where the poisoned water hole is in the back fields

The landowner was unhappy with what was going on. She did not want children running across her field, so she put up a barbed wire fence around the watering hole. This did not stop the children from coming; they easily slipped under the barbed wire and continued to collect water for their families, avoiding the trek to other unpredictable water sources. One night the landowner turned to desperate measures and poisoned her own watering hole. She would rather not be able to use the water herself than have these children trespass on her land. The next day, eleven children went to collect water as usual, and drank some from the poisoned source. Upon returning to their village, they suddenly became very ill. Thankfully the school headmaster saw the children and, deducing what had happened, acted quickly enough that there were no deaths resulting from the poisoned water. Having narrowly escaped tragedy, the people of this village recognized that they needed a source of clean water, especially for the sake of their children.

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The poisoned water hole

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The poisoned water hole

With their new RainCatcher rainwater-harvesting system, the 320 children attending Itendero Senior Secondary School have a sustainable source of clean, safe drinking water in their own village. They no longer have to take risks traveling or trespassing to access a potentially hazardous water source. Instead, they can collect water from the system built onto their school building, knowing that it will cause no harm to them or their families. They are free to attend school as they should, instead of missing class to fetch water or recover from water-related illnesses.

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The newly installed rainwater harvesting system at the Itendero School

RainCatcher has been able to provide clean water to Itendero School, and many others like it, using the ancient technique of rainwater harvesting coupled with advanced filtration. This method has the lowest cost per person when compared to other types of water projects, and is more sustainable. Just one inch of rainfall on a 1,000 square-foot roof provides 625 gallons of safe drinking water. Mbarara, Uganda receives 34.3 inches of rain and 166 days of rainfall each year, making it the perfect environment for rainwater harvesting. RainCatcher regularly travels throughout Uganda and Kenya, searching for places like Mbarara to receive rainwater-harvesting systems. Thanks to our generous donors and supporters, we are able to give water, life, and love to the people in Africa who need it. As we continue to grow, we hope to greatly diminish the number of people in the world without access to clean water. Please join us in our mission.

Written by Danielle John

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