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Published on 08 March, 2013

In the developing world, water plays a key role in education

International (MNN) — Picture 4,000 little coffins lined up for burial every single day.

That's how many kids around the world die daily from waterborne illnesses. These illnesses also cause students in developing nations to miss school and an education that could get them out of poverty.

"If we're really concerned about educating these kids with knowledge about God's world, we need to see them. They need to be in school," says Scott Vander Kooy with Worldwide Christian Schools.

"Education requires a presence. And if people are unable to be where the education is taking place because they're sick, then…illness is a factor that needs to be reckoned with."

That's why WWCS is working with Water 4 Wisdom to fight the problem. Water 4 Wisdom installs water filtration systems in schools that provide clean water for over a decade.

"If we can help improve kids' nutrition and their overall health, we're going to give the students much more of a chance to benefit their families and communities," states Vander Kooy.

You can come alongside their efforts here. Pray that as children and families receive safe physical water, they would also thirst for Living Water.

An initial investment of $1,000 covers installation of a filter that gives clean water to between 500 and 1000 people. In addition to the new water system, Water 4 Wisdom introduces a nutrition curriculum and educates community leaders.

"It's hard to educate kids if they're not in school, so we're in the business of helping educate the students' families to be [healthier]," says Vander Kooy. "The whole idea is to train indigenous leaders on this curriculum so that they can bring it forward to the schools in a particular area."

The United Nations states that every dollar invested in clean water makes a community seven times wealthier. In addition, community health improves as more people drink clean water and develop healthy hygienic practices.

"We don't want to create dependence on Worldwide Christian Schools," states Vander Kooy. "We want people to understand the importance of good nutrition and not only understand it, but to do something about it."

Right now, three WWCS schools in the Dominican Republic have filters installed and communities trained to maintain them. Vander Kooy says they'll be expanding into other nations soon; a team is headed to Nicaragua in May and Africa in September. The Africa team will be installing 5 filters in Uganda.

"Those are all small numbers, relative to the amount of schools," Vander Kooy says. "But what's exciting is that the indigenous leadership then will have the capability to carry it forward."

Vander Kooy says resources are one of the big challenges villagers face when replicating this project.

"Filters cost money, and we want to help them, as much as we're able, to buy filters," he says.

"Helping people learn how to be more healthy so that they can benefit their families economically, to us is just the most Christ-like thing we could be involved with."

Pray that God would open doors for this project to reach more communities in need.

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Grand Rapids, MI
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