(DETROIT, MI) — A U.S.-based service organization is on a mission to raise $3 million to install water filtration systems in 1,200 Lebanese schools over the next three years.
A group of Rotary International leaders — in partnership with the Rotary of Lebanon and Troy Rotary Club in Troy, Mich. — are part of an effort to bring clean water into Lebanon’s public school system.
Nearly one in three Lebanese buy alternative sources of drinking water, usually from mobile water trucks or in bottles, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Lebanese public schools are in even greater need, according to USAID, because of the influx of Syrian refugees, who have added 200,000 Syrian children into an already crowded system.
“The water reaching Lebanese private and public properties is so contaminated, it is undrinkable,” said Fadi Sankari, chairman of the Lebanon Water Project. “It is important to engage in Lebanon’s humanitarian affairs because as U.S born Americans we are fortunate enough to have clean drinking water at our disposal.”
Contaminated drinking water affects 300,000 Lebanese children and 200,000 Syrian children, according to Sankari. Rotary International has developed working committees to examine the hardest-hit schools, and allocate the resources and volunteers to launch the undertaking.
“I’m happy to report that we have roughly $1.2 million raised and nearly 400 schools complete and 50 in the works,” Sankari added.
The committee is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and the Red Cross, among others. It costs $2,500 to install a water tank and filter in each school.
Lebanese Health Minister Wael Abu Faour announced in early April a new campaign to address water sanitation in Lebanese public schools. Abu Faour said his office identified high levels of bacteria in water samples from nearly all public school systems.
According to the Lebanese National News Agency, 49 percent of samples failed to meet the necessary health standards of the ministry.
Rotary International leaders in Lebanon have met with Abu Faour to discuss upcoming plans and timelines for project completion.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
The Troy Rotary Club is hosting a fundraising gala on July 23 at Byblos Banquet Center in Dearborn, Mich. For more information call (248) 740-7151 — donations are tax deductible. The event flyer can be found at this link.