WATERisLIFE in Costa Rica
Russell Finex partners with water crisis charity to support slum villages and schools affected by contaminated water supplies
In July 2018, a WATERisLIFE project team – supported by Russell Finex – visited slum areas of Central America, delivering clean water solutions directly to villages and families in need. The project formed the start of a long-term relationship, with Russell Finex planning to support further WATERisLIFE projects around the world in the future.
The team focused on Talamanca, an area in Costa Rica near the Panamanian border. Whilst being an incredibly diverse and picturesque part of the country, Talamanca is home to large clusters of slum villages, often originating from squatters living in abandoned banana plantation buildings. Communities of up to 50 homes are scattered throughout the plantations, most cramped with generations of families and up to 25 living under one roof.
Neither the Costa Rican nor Panamanian government have been obligated to support these villages with healthcare or basic sanitation. Therefore, the only provisions available to them are through non-government organizations, such as WATERisLIFE.
The WATERisLIFE project team started by conducting medical evaluations and addressing immediate health issues. Most of the villagers had worms due to the contaminated water supply. The majority of the homes in the area merely used a small hand-dug pit as a toilet, with poor sanitation and contaminated water being a major cause of severe health issues. The water sources were often polluted by human and animal faeces, as well as pesticides from the banana plantations. Every day a plane would fly over the villages, coating the people, homes and water supplies in the dangerous pesticide chemicals.
WATERisLIFE is dedicated to making a direct impact on communities around the world through providing clean water supplies. Of the 10,000 people that die each day due to water-related illness, 90% are children, and WATERisLIFE is devoted to reducing this statistic by transforming villages and providing direct support to those in need. The charity’s goal by 2020 is to provide an additional 1 billion people with safe drinking water.
The Talamanca project was an example of how the charity takes a comprehensive approach to addressing a water crisis. 1,800 CleanSip water filter straws were given to the communities, which will provide families with a method of drinking water safely without the risk of waterborne diseases. In addition, a home water filter system was installed for each house, providing the basic sanitation required to reduce the risk of disease. As well as the villages, local schools were visited, and further straws were provided. Schools are a key focus in many of WATERisLIFE’s projects, as they are often a central hub for communities. Project teams are able to deliver education and spread awareness about the causes and risks of water pollution, which can be passed through the local area and generations to provide a long-term positive impact.
With a history of over 80 years in manufacturing industrial sieving and filtration equipment, Russell Finex was eager to support WATERisLIFE’s project work in Central America, providing communities with basic water filtration methods. Ray Singh, Russell Finex Managing Director, said, “Clean water is a basic human need, which unfortunately many of these villages do not have access to. It’s extremely heart-warming to see the direct positive impact the WATERisLIFE projects have on people’s lives, and we hope to work with the charity in the future to support communities in other parts of the world.”
Russell Finex is committed to supporting local and international charitable causes. To find out more about its community and charity efforts, visit the Russell Finex news and events page.