“Lots and lots of dots, in blue water” a seven year old described the drowning victims to her mother. When consecutive hurricanes struck Haiti in 2009, a small village school lost over thirty school children, and the subsequent contamination of its wells produced a serious shortage of drinking water. In hearing of the account, my high school science students suggested: since we do all sorts of science labs, why can’t we learn the same information by developing a way to help them purifier their water?
Thus began “dots in blue water”—substituting for their science labs a project that would develop and test sustainable units that could purify local water to drinkability. As a result of the student efforts, their prototype—developed with the help of several engineers, chemists, and experts in water purification—students can filter and purify over fifty gallons of contaminated water to drinkability in a minute. In the summer of 2011, sixteen students and teachers from a rural Indiana school made an initial trip to Haiti, where they delivered, assembled, and taught locals to use the purification systems, and this session will share their story as well as present how other schools are now “Making a World of Difference”. Since that time, dots in blue water has grown into a corporation-wide project, where students K-12 learn across-the-curriculum issues regarding poverty, hygiene and sanitation—and especially—clean water. Students design and participate in various fundraisers, each year raising enough money to finance their purifier materials as well as their travel expenses.
Since that inaugural trip, some 100 high school students, teachers, and adults have continued to visit Haiti, delivering village-size, school-size, or family-size purifiers of various design. While in Haiti, dots in blue water students partner with local schools and missions, teaching the Haitians about sanitation, water, and delivering to them a system from which they can have clean drinking water. Teachers and students from nearby schools have also begun to partner with us, and it is anticipated that high schools around the country will begin to initiate their own programs dealing with water issues. In 2014, dots in blue water will expand its mission by adding sustainable power sources to its purifiers through wind and solar energy. It also plans to adopt the host school on the north coast: last summer dots in blue water provided a 1200 gallon drinking water system to the school, and this year, plans to provide computers and internet access to the school, becoming a partner school with the K-6 students there.