Take nothing for granted

How easy it is to take things for granted in our country. There’s food, shelter, convenient access to most services – you name it. Sure, the systems aren’t perfect, but when you think about it, there aren’t a whole lot of obstacles for most of population to get what they need.

Consider access to clean water. Talk about something that is taken for granted.

So it’s unimaginable that, according to the latest estimates of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation released in early 2013, 36% of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and 768 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources.

Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.

That’s why it’s heartening to see steps being taken to help those in such need. The Lacombe-based A Better World recently announced a goal to see 90,000 people have safe access to clean drinking water in South Sudan with the help of a new partnership with Alaska Sudan Medical Project (ASMP).

Merv Schafer, a retired professional engineer with over 10 years experience with humanitarian and development projects in southern Sudan, has come onboard with A Better World to help manage the Atar Water Project.

Red Deer’s Monybany Dau, who fled the region after violence in the early 1980s, has been a strong advocate for bringing clean water to Atar.

Dau has been raising awareness about the plight of the people in the region through screening and selling the film The Ladder of My Life, which documents his story of willingly joining the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army at the age of nine and fighting for his country’s liberation as a child soldier.

It’s an amazing story, and another thing that really hits viewers, and those who have had the privilege of talking with Dau, is his unwavering commitment to his homeland. He’s all too aware of the hardships, but looks forward with an optimistic spirit. But he of course needs the growing help of the community.

The film indeed touches on several areas, from Sudan’s violent and troubled past to the present often desperate situation, plus Dau’s incredible personal experiences. It leaves the viewer moved and sincerely challenged to consider practical ways of lending a helping hand.

Dau and the core team in Central Alberta who are spearheading the project will continue to raise funds and awareness of the need for clean water for people in South Sudan. Those wishing to make an investment can contact A Better World at www.abwcanada.ca and select the Atar Water Project or call 403-782-0325.