WaterStep was able to respond to this disaster by offering safe drinking water and sanitation to the people of Haiti when they needed it most. As Claudia Daniels, WaterStep’s Director of International Partners and Missions, said, “Water is the first thing that needs to be restored, and WaterStep does it in a way that gives back to the community for years to come, instead of draining them of immediate resources in the midst of a disaster.”
January 2010, Haiti experienced a magnitude seven earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and left millions homeless. This was the most devastating natural disaster in Haiti’s history, leaving an already destitute country in shatters. As a result of this disaster, the world rallied together to offer assistance and provide relief to Haiti.
WaterStep teams able to install 55 chlorine generators in communities throughout Haiti. In addition to installing these water projects, while the team was in Haiti, they also repaired hand pumps that had taken strain over months of use. Many communities in Haiti use a well as their primary water source and with almost constant daily use, the hand pumps for these wells break every 18-24 months. While repairing the pumps, the team also trained community members on how to fix them in the future. This training has proved to be effective in contributing towards rebuilding and improving communal functions in Haiti.
Tiga and Coralyn Tuerntine | WaterStep Ambassador
This was demonstrated first-hand by a local man named Tiga who had met CoraLyn Turentine of WaterStep while she performed water work in Grand Goave, Haiti. At the time, Tiga had been working as a translator for the WaterStep group and had been eager to learn more about implementing the water systems. He had also been trained in water purification. A few months later, Tiga contacted CoraLyn to let her know that he had started working as a consultant for two orphanages in Grand Goave. Both orphanages lacked access to safe water and were in dire need of help. Tiga was keen for WaterStep to return to Haiti and with our equipment and train staff members in water purification.
Using the experience that he had gained in our initial response to Haiti, Tiga had already done a site assessment, sending pictures and measurements of where he felt the system should be installed. He had also identified individuals to be trained in the purification process.
On 30 September 2013, WaterStep (Coralyn Tuerentine) returned to Grand Goave to Heart 2 Heart campus. Tiga was ready and waiting and already had everything in place. He took the team to shop for equipment and coordinated with the orphanage managers. Tiga stood out as a respected and effective leader of the community and was successfully implementing all he had learnt about water purification. During our time at the orphanage, WaterStep assisted Tiga to install an effective water system and we also provided training on health and hygiene to employees and administrators.
Heart 2 Heart houses around 300 orphans from toddlers to young adults; and provides schooling for an additional 200 Grand Goave youth during the school year. This means that at least 500 people now had access to safe water for the rest of their lives.
At WaterStep, we are privileged to be entrusted to assist local communities realize their plans to build healthy communities. This is the kind of collaborative work that we look forward to continuing to perform for decades to come.