In this space, Halifax Magazine invites local good causes to share their stories. Know a story we should share? Email the editor at email@example.com.
Ben John is a Nova Scotia plumber who founded Help 2 Overcome (H2O) to deliver plumbing and sanitation to developing world communities. John understands the problem better than most because he grew up in South Africa, in a home without plumbing. He learned his trade so that he could change lives, starting with his own family.
“I remember my mother and sisters having to use the pit toilet at night and being afraid of predators,” he says. “It was really just a deep hole in the ground, located about 400 feet from the house”.
Other threats loom without hand-washing facilities. Cholera, typhus, and polio are among the deadly illnesses caused by poor sanitation. The World Health Organization estimates that some 900 million children live without toilets at home, while more than 2.4 billion people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. Even greater tragedy is that more than 10,000 people will die today because of contaminated water and 315,000 children will die in 2017 due to complications from diarrhea.
And that’s why John wants Nova Scotians to give a crap.
John’s first project with H2O built washrooms for 230 students in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Now he can’t wait to return to this nation, where 70% of the population lives in poverty, to build a sanitation block of 10 compostable toilets and sinks for 325 girls in the African Women Educationalist (FAWE) School.
In developing nations, young women often quit school once they enter puberty because of the dangers and filth in the latrines. So the new facilities will help them stay in school, get an education, and make a difference in their communities.
We need your help to spread the word that H2O wants to be number one in the number two business. Or we could just say that 325 girls in Sierra Leone desperately need our help. To donate or learn more, surf to help2overcome.org.