Water for South Sudan held a World Water Day celebration and press conference on Tuesday, March 22nd, at the Downtown United Presbyterian Church (DUPC) in downtown Rochester, NY. Many friends and supporters joined us as we launched our first-ever capital campaign --Watering the Seeds of Change.
The goal of the campaign is to raise $1.5 million to purchase new drilling equipment, bolster staff in the US and South Sudan and develop a pilot sanitation program. The sanitation program will go hand-in-hand with WFSS’ hygiene education program so that South Sudanese villagers can obtain the greatest health benefits of receiving clean water.
As Salva discussed on World Water Day, WFSS’ work is so much more than bringing access to clean water. Once a village has a well, girls and women no longer have to walk for up to eight hours per day to obtain water for their families. Girls can then attend school, which gives them the education they need to create more prosperous lives, and women can focus on taking care of their families and operating small businesses. Where there are wells, life is cultivated. Markets spring up and the economy flourishes. Villages can remain in one place during the dry season because their inhabitants do not have to travel for up to six months to find water. A third-world nation can move out of the cycle of poverty and subsistence farming and make a comfortable living for its people. As Salva noted, "We have great hope. I myself am hopeful that things will change, because, what we are doing, we are planting the seeds."
PROCLAMATIONS IN HONOR OF SALVA DUT
Among those who attended our World Water Day celebration and press conference were John Kreckel, Economic Development Specialist and representative of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of the 25th District of New York; Gloria Hunter, representative of New York State Senator Rich Funke; Norman Jones, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services for the City of Rochester, representing Mayor Lovely Warren; and Frank Allkofer, Monroe County Legislator.
Jones presented a proclamation from Mayor Warren declaring that March 22nd, 2016, was a “day of honor for Salva Dut.”
Representative Louise Slaughter’s office presented Salva with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. New York State Senator The Monroe County Legislature also presented a Certificate of Recognition to Salva.
Throughout the event speakers noted the significance of Rochester as the place that first welcomed Salva as a refugee, helped him travel back to South Sudan to visit his father, and were integral to founding Water for South Sudan.
“Rochester has always been home to good neighbors who are willing to step-up and give of themselves to help others, so it is great to see one of our own making a big difference on the world stage,” said Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport). “I commend Salva Dut and his team at Water for South Sudan for their commitment to this cause and I look forward to watching their continued good works in the days to come.”
CAMPAIGN ALREADY HALF-WAY TO GOAL
WFSS has quietlly been raising funds for the capital campaign, with donations as of World Water Day totaling over $750,000. Additionally our World Water Day hosts, DUPC, presented WFSS with a check for $10,000. DUPC minister Rev. Pat Youngdahl expressed her admiration for Salva and WFSS.
Thank you to our supporters across the US and around the world for enabling our work. To help us Water the Seeds of Change, please visit our campaign page.