published Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Rotary Clubs back fresh water projects

Area Rotary Clubs are working to ensure residents of the Dominican Republic have access to fresh water by funding installation of water treatment systems there.

"Fresh water is essential to everything," said Cindy Todd, co-chairwoman of the new International World Projects Committee of the Downtown Rotary Club and director of marketing for the Tennessee Aquarium.

Todd said she was inspired to help by Dr. Catherine Colby, an independent consultant with EGE Haina, who spoke to Rotarians last fall about an ongoing project club members could support.

Haina is the largest power producing company in the Dominican and built its first wind park, Los Cocos, in Juancho.

The downtown club recently helped pay for a water treatment system in Juancho, a small village of 2,000 in the Dominican Republic. The downtown, Hamilton Place and South Pittsburg Rotary clubs also collaborated to purchase four water treatment systems for schools in the Dominican Republic.

One system, with $6,700 from the Hamilton Place and downtown clubs, already has been installed in the 700-student school in Juancho. This year the South Pittsburg and the downtown Rotary clubs bought three more water systems and already have given more than $7,000 to the effort of providing clean water in schools.

"School water systems are a good focus for Rotary," Colby said.

She describes the school in Juancho as central to the community and a key way to provide the village with safe water. The water systems that Rotary is providing allow for students to have fresh water at school and also provide water stations that offer clean water to the community.

Involvement in the Dominican Republic has spread through Rotary members to local schools. Normal Park Museum Magnet School students donated thousands of dollars in school materials. Bright School donated 500 uniforms. Last year, Baylor School sixth-graders sent art supplies.

Next month, Todd and five others from the three Rotary clubs will travel to the Dominican Republic and see the work that is being done there.

Contact Kendi Anderson at kendi.anderson@gmail.com.

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