Article courtesy of Author Natasha Dado| Date(06.26.2015)|The Arab American News | Shared as educational material
DETROIT — Children who attend public schools across Lebanon have developed diseases as a result of water contamination.
In 2013, the Lebanon Water Project was launched to address the humanitarian issue. The project is expected to provide sustainable clean water to 1,200 public schools across Lebanon by replacing water tanks and installing filtration systems.
About 500,000 children attend public schools in Lebanon. Of that figure, 300,000 are Lebanese and 200,000 are Iraqi and Syrian refugees. The project’s long-term goal is to raise $3 million in three years and bring clean water to all the schools by next year.
To date, $1.2 million has been raised and new water tanks and filtration systems have been installed in 400 schools, while another 50 schools are in the process of getting access to clean water.
On July 23 about 300 local businessmen are expected to attend the Lebanon Water Project’s benefit dinner at Byblos Banquet Hall. The businessmen will join humanitarians around the world in a shared mission to bring clean water to Lebanon’s public schools. In addition to the businessmen, other professionals and representatives from different groups are expected to attend and sponsor the event.
“These are our children,” said Fadi Sankari of the Troy Rotary Club. “The community’s involvement, outreach and support is critical to fulfilling the project’s mission and bringing clean water to these children.”
The Troy Rotary Club, in partnership with a group of Rotary International leaders and Rotary of Lebanon, is part of the effort to provide clean water to students in the Lebanese public schools.
The cost of installing filtration systems and new water tanks at one school is $2,500. This amount insures clean water is sustained at the school for 10 years. The Lebanon Water Project is a 501c3 nonprofit. All donations made are tax deductible. Sankari said businesses that sponsor a school will have gold plaques installed at the facility featuring their organizations’ names.
“We want to expand and have other people join the effort,” Sankari said. “We are not taking ownership of this project. A lot of people know there is a problem, but they don’t know how to help. There have been a lot of generous humanitarians and donors helping. We need to make sure that continues.”
During the event next month, there will be discussions on the project’s progress and a video presentation showing children who attend schools impacted by it.
Sankari said even if people can’t afford to sponsor the event it is important for them to attend just to learn about how the water crisis impacts school children.
Sankari sits on a local committee that has about 15 Rotarians who are working closely with the Lebanon Water Project. He said volunteering his time to the project and helping raise awareness about the risks of water contamination in Lebanon is a “blessing.”
“Words are not enough to describe how fulfilling it is to help people in need,” he said. “And, honestly, it is selfish because it makes you feel so good about yourself.”
For more information on sponsoring the event, call the Troy Rotary Club at 313.729.9704 or visit www.tinyurl.com/lebanonwaterproject.