Strength in Numbers: Cooperation and Water Saved the Life of Paulin Marius

“Water is essential to our survival. Imagine being without it or having to walk hours to have access to the most vital commodity that we need to go about our daily activities.”

                                                -Madame Nicole Defay, Director of Williamson Village in Haiti

The story of Paulin Marius: how cooperation gave him clean water, which saved his father’s life

Paulin is 14 years old. He lives with his 7 brothers and sisters and his father, who is slowly going blind. His mother passed away during childbirth, and his physical development was stunted following a childhood fever.

This October, Paulin’s father fell ill with vomiting and diarrhea. Paulin walked his dad up a mountain in order to get him to the hospital for cholera treatment.

Paulin with a staff member from Hope for Haiti

One of our partners, Hope for Haiti, gave Paulin a bucket of chlorine to protect his family from future cholera outbreaks.

Clean water has made a healthy life possible for Paulin, his father, his siblings, and many children like Paulin. 

The Bigger Picture:

50% of Haitians do not have access to the most vital of resources: clean water. Waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and symptoms such as chronic diarrhea are responsible for 16% of deaths for children under the age of 5. Since October 2010, over 418,000 Haitians have been diagnosed with cholera. With so many people lacking access to clean, safe water and the number of people afflicted by cholera growing steadily each month, water and sanitation services must be improved for more people at a faster rate. Cooperation between local governments, community-based organizations, and non-governmental organizations is the only way to protect more people, faster.

The Solution:

We at International Action recognized this, and in July of this year created a Cholera Prevention Consortium. The goal of the consortium is to bring safe water to all corners of Haiti. 22 NGOs and over 20 communities have asked to join our efforts. In September alone, we donated 122  buckets (50 pounds each) of chlorine to 22 groups that work throughout Haiti.

A Glimpse of Our Partners

One of the first groups we donated to was Mercy & Sharing. Mercy & Sharing operates 3 residential care facilities for a total of 116 children in Williamson, located 37 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince. Williamson is very impoverished: the only businesses bringing in any revenue are the hotels on the beach. 51 percent of the orphans at Mercy & Sharing are disabled. They are in even greater need of clean, safe water than most because many have weakened immune systems.  Nearby is a Mercy & Sharing-run school that serves 300 students.

On July 18, 2011, Mercy & Sharing picked up 20 buckets of chlorine from International Action. They needed the chlorine because many of the children they work with were getting sick from contaminated water. Since Mercy and Sharing picked up the chlorine from us in July, they have helped provide over 18,000 people a month with clean, safe water.

“Thanks to the donation of International Action who gratefully donated the chlorine, we are now able to deliver clean water to the Williamson population.

Every day people from the community come as early as 5am to fill their bucket and jugs. Some come with their donkey making sure they carry the most water they can get while satisfying their need until the next morning.

We are lucky to have found such good-hearted people who wholesomely care about the well-being of their fellow brother and sisters.”

                                   -Madame Nicole Defay, Director of Williamson Village in Haiti

Moving Forward 

There are many towns like Williamson; many more groups like Mercy and Sharing wanting help out; and thousands of people who have stories like Paulin.

We would not have been able to help Paulin and his father without the cooperation of our consortium partners. Cooperation and clean water save lives, which is why we will continue to expand the consortium. Please forward this email to any friends and family that would like the opportunity to help out in Haiti.

We have the full support of our staff, our board members, the Haitians we work with, and even President Martelly, who made a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York at the end of September in which he championed International Action for our commitment to provide 2.5 million Haitians with clean water. But most importantly, your support makes all this work possible. Please join us in helping more children like Paulin live a healthy and happy life by donating $30 or $50 a month.

Warmest regards and deepest thanks,

— The International Action Team