DigDeep.org Exceeds Fundraising Goal, Provides Clean Water to St. Michael’s Association for Special Education on Navajo Nation in AZ.
Thanks to public support from across the country, DigDeep crowdfunded more than $100,000 and is nearly finished re-plumbing the special needs school’s entire campus.
Press Release – (Los Angeles, CA) February 19, 2018 – DigDeep, a human rights non-profit working to ensure that every American has clean, running water forever, has raised enough funds to re-pipe 14 buildings and to install a state-of-the-art filtration system at St. Michael’s Association for Special Education (SMASE), the only special needs school on the Navajo Reservation.
Since 2014, SMASE has relied entirely on bottled water to care for their special needs students. Students at SMASE face a wide range of developmental and medical disabilities that make them especially fragile. Until recently, students at SMASE used bottled water for drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning medical equipment because their tap water was contaminated with lead, sulfate, decaying organic material and other toxins that caused a terrible odor and color – and made the water unsafe to drink.
DigDeep serves the nearly 1.3 million Americans who still don’t have a tap or a toilet at home. The Navajo Nation is a major focus of their work, where more than 40% of people live in water poverty. Their Navajo Water Project was extending clean, running water to Navajo families just miles from SMASE when a teacher reached out in late 2016 asking for help. DigDeep immediately contacted SMASE staff, as well as a host of engineering and water experts, to develop a plan. DigDeep released that plan on World Water Day 2017 and crowdfunded over $100,000 to clean up the school’s dirty water.
DigDeep staff developed an engineering report, worked with the local water utility to address water quality issues, and began re-plumbing 14 buildings on campus. They also began to install state-of-the-art carbon and reverse osmosis filters around campus. That work is now nearly complete.
This important project will ensure that some of the country’s most vulnerable students finally have safe, reliable access to clean running water – a basic human right. SMASE will still have to pay a hefty water bill for every drop they consume; the funds raised only cover the installation of pipes and filters. This World Water Day (Thursday, March 22) DigDeep will attempt to raise $15,000 to help SMASE pay their ongoing water bills – a beautiful way to celebrate their efforts and support the students at SMASE. More information HERE.
“I’m incredibly proud of this project – of the donors and partners and team that worked to make it happen so quickly,” says DigDeep Founder George McGraw. “I’ve never seen such joy at the sight of a clean, running faucet. Now if we can help SMASE pay their water bills, they can take those desperately needed funds and reinvest them in their teachers, their classrooms and care for their students.”
The students and staff at SMASE are grateful for all of the donations, messages and support they’ve received from the public — as wells as the hard work of project staff and volunteers. To show people how much this project means to them, educators at SMASE worked with DigDeep to make this video featuring their students, campus and new clean water. The moving video features a voiceover by Jessie Gross (24) one of the multisensory special needs teachers reading a love letter to her students: https://youtu.be/wbbvNKPFHKA
DigDeep is the leading organization improving community-based water and sanitation (WASH) outcomes in the United States, where more than 1.3 million people still don’t have clean, running water at home.
DigDeep was founded in Los Angeles in 2011 by a group of human rights professionals working in water, health and international development. Today, the organization runs several nationally-recognized programs that improve water equity for communities in New Mexico, Arizona and South Dakota. They are best-known for their Navajo Water Project, an initiative bringing safe, hot-and-cold running water to hundreds of remote Navajo families for the first time ever.
DIGDEEP is committed to changing the way people think about water, and 100% of all donations support projects in the field. To learn more visit www.digdeep.org
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