Park Forest Youth Moved to Help Bring Clean Water to People in Developing Countries


Sam Girmai-Jones holds a LifeStraw. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– When Sam Girmai-Jones was in church one Sunday in March, the priest talked about the church’s ministry to Africa where wells were being built to provide clean drinking water to the residents. Nine-year-old Sam was surprised to learn that many kids his age didn’t have safe drinking water in their homes and that some had to walk miles each day to get clean water at the nearest well.

The Park Forest, IL, resident felt compelled to help. His mother took him to the library where he researched solutions. That’s when Sam learned about LifeStraw. He was amazed by the simple device which worked like a straw while filtering out impurities to make water safe to drink. He decided to raise enough money to send 1,000 individual LifeStraw water filters to people in need. To achieve this goal, Sam will need to raise $7,000.

On June 13, just one month after Sam launched his campaign, he presented a check for the first $1,000 raised to his family church,

Sam’s mother Yvette helped her son formulate a fundraising campaign. Together, they contacted LifeStraw manufacturer, Vestergaard Frandsen, and were sent background information about LifeStraw from the company. Sam then put together a presentation he’d share with groups to convince them to donate to the cause.

Says he was at the Park Forest Library with a friend one day and saw LifeStraws featured in the book Cool Stuff 2.0: And How it Works. He says he remembered seeing a factoid at church about life in Africa, “When we first joined the church, we saw people in Africa drinking dirty water. Later, I found out about this, and remembered all the way back about that [factoid].”

“I saw it and said, ‘Mom, I want to help kids in Africa with it.’ And then I contacted the manufacturer. Me and my mom asked for a sample LifeStraw.”

Sam explained how the straw functions, “You drink dirty water at this end, it purifies through here, and then, once you drink it out, it’s filtered.” After each use, the user is supposed to blow through the straw to remove any stray particles. Each straw purifies a minimum of 700 liters of water, and should last about a year, Sam said.
Straws purchased with the money Sam raises will go to Haiti, and the African nations Ghana, West Africa, Angola, Burkina Faso, and Kenya. “The company is going to ship them to those places,” Sam said.

Sam partnered with a ministry at his church called The Joseph Assignment, which will take care of collecting the money for Sam’s project, and sending the $7,000 hopes to raise for the purchase of the LifeStraws.

Accoding to the company Web site, LifeStraw has been extensively tested in the United States at the University of Arizona, and complies with United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) guidelines for microbiological purifiers. It requires no electrical power or spare parts for the lifetime of the straw.

LifeStraw® Personal remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, and 98% of Viruses for a filtration of 700 liters.

LifeStraw® Family remove 99.9999% Bacteria, 99.99%viruses and 99.9%parasites as per EPA Standard for 18.000 liters.

The product has been extensively tested with turbid water, the company says. The product removes all particles up to 20nm, making the water clear of any turbidity.

Sam’s mother, Yvette, said she appreciates her son’s desire to help, “As adults, we’re so intertwined in so many different things in our daily activities that we don’t have time to think about helping too many people.” But children see things more clearly, mom says,.”This is really why we’re here. We’re here to help each other.”

Donations can be sent payable to “The Joseph Assignment” with “LifeStraw” in the memo of the check. Please send donations to the following address:

New Faith Baptist Church International
The Joseph Assignment
25 South Central Ave.
Matteson, IL 60443-1142

Sam says he has tested the LifeStraw, and the water “tastes like bottled water, but cleaner.”

At any given moment, about half of the world’s poor are suffering from waterborne disease, of which over 6,000 – mainly children – die each day by consuming unsafe drinking water.

Today, more than one billion people of the world’s population are without access to safe drinking water, causing lack of safe water supply to rob women and young girls of dignity, literacy and time.

Vestergaard Frandsen is a European-based international company specializing in complex emergency response and disease control products. It is guided by a unique Humanitarian Entrepreneurship business model, whose “profit for a purpose” approach has turned humanitarian responsibility into its core business, according to the company’s Web site.

In this video, a related product the company makes, LifeStraw Family, is tested with filthy water, flavored with a little cow dung. Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of the company, and others take a drink:

This is a CNN report about LifeStraw and other products made by Vestergaard Frandsen:

Some source material for this article was gathered from http://www.vestergaard-frandsen.com.