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In the United States, we tend to take our easy access to water and plumbing for granted. One grassroots organization is working hard to give people in those impoverished areas access to clean water and plumbing. Plumbers Without Borders is a non-profit agency based out of Seattle, Washington. The organization’s goal is to provide people in need with safe water and hygienic sanitation so they no longer have to worry about the diseases and suffering that comes from unclean water.

Helping Underdeveloped Nations

Plumbers Without Borders wants the world to know that nearly one in eight people around the world does not have access to clean, safe water. Over 2 million people die from diseases that are caused by unclean water and the diseases that are harbored in it. Of the 7 billion people in the world, about one-third of them live in communities that do not have clean water or healthy sanitation systems which results in those people developing chronic gastrointestinal illnesses that are easily passed on to other people.

Raising Awareness with World Toilet Day

The co-founder of the organization, Domenico DiGregario wants to be able to say that plumbers are necessary to protect the health of people all over the world. He wants to raise awareness about the lack of clean water around the world and he uses annual World Toilet Days to remind people that his organization exists. DiGregario and the other volunteers at Plumbers Without Borders have been sharing their training and knowledge with people in Haiti, Ethiopia, as well as with local Habitat for Humanity projects, too.

Repairing Plumbing in Ethiopia

One project that the organization is proud to have completed was at a hospital in Ethiopia. DiGregorio and Fred Volkers, the other co-founder, worked with volunteer physicians from Seattle in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They worked together to improve the plumbing in the Zewditu Hospital in the capital city. They also organized a dialysis clinic to help the people in Addis Ababa.

Before they upgraded the plumbing in the hospital, the conditions were deplorable and unsanitary. The faucets in the operating room did not work which meant the doctors in Addis Ababa used water buckets to clean their hands before they performed surgery. No hospital in a developed nation with running water and clean sanitation would permit conditions like those in Addis Ababa. When the group visited dialysis clinics in Addis Ababa, they noticed problems with the drains of the dialysis machines. Once they figured out the backflow problems with the machines and the drains, they not only fixed the problem, but they also taught the employees what to do when other problems arose.

Giving Time and Training in Haiti

The group is dedicated to fixing plumbing problems and empowering people in impoverished, Third-World countries to help themselves. When the group visited Haiti, they trained student attending Haiti Tec in Port au Prince so they could install water purification systems and do other plumbing work when needed. In order to get the plumbing devices needed in Port au Prince, Plumbers Without Borders worked with the non-profit group World Water Partners out of Europe. They also worked with Seattle University to develop the techniques to train the young Haitians.

Providing Safe Latrine Pans

Plumbers Without Borders also works with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to install hygienic latrine pans. These pans were developed to prevent diseases from spreading in areas that use open-air latrine pits. The pans have been installed in homes in Haiti and local families want more installed. Communities that lack toilets not only have problems with diseases, but with issues related to the privacy and safety of women and girls who have to relieve themselves in these open pits.

It is inspiring to see plumbers caring about the health and wellness of people living in underdeveloped nations. For more information or to donate time or money visit their website: Plumbers Without Borders.

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