Sunday, 19 October 2008

"Project Clean Water" A Success

Mary Jane Gearns and the principal of Bengkrom School in Cambodia stand in front of the Tank donated to school childen by the Garden City Branch of AAUW.

October 17, 2008

Two years ago the branch took on a new challenge, "Project: Clean Water." Members of the branch were invited to hear Dr. Hendrie, a retired pediatrician, speak at a Garden City Rotary Club meeting. Branch members were so taken by Dr. Hendrie and her work for children in Cambodia, they decided to lend a hand.

Dr. Hendrie had adopted a Cambodian village, truly saving the villagers through her month-long visits four times a year. She and her Sharing Foundation began by establishing an orphanage, a school, and a cottage industry training adults in sewing.

An ongoing problem was the illness and eventual deaths of the natives which was caused by arsenic found in most of the wells. Dr. Hendrie joined forces with an American trained Ph.D Hydrologist. They found that large water tanks filled by monsoon rains could be treated to provide clean water to families, protecting them from the bacteria, parasites and arsenic poisoning that were killing so many children and adults.

The Garden City AAUW, with the help of the Nassau, North Shore, Massaqequa area and Huntington Branches, raised $2,000 to have a tank built for the village of Beng Krom on the Mekong River. More than 500 children are now sent home from school each day with a plastic bottle filled with clean water for family drinking and cooking.

The project began in February, 2006 and the tank was in operation five months later. It's not often that charitable efforts become a reality so quickly. With clean water, the children's school attendance has increased to the point that Dr. Hendrie, has had to raise funds to build more bathrooms!

Ms. Gearns was delighted to actually see the water tank inscribed with the words, The Sharing Foundation and the Long Island Chapter of the American Association of University Women, knowing that the gift is truly saving the lives of children and their families.

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