Eric Stowe

Eric Stowe

25 June, 2012
H2O for underprivileged kids
Founder, A Child's Right

Access to potable drinking water is a major issue in many developing countries. The problem is especially severe for children in these countries. Providing clean water to children is the mission and vision for Eric Stowe’s organization, A Child’s Right. A Child’s Right was a NGO beneficiary at the Dow Run for Water event in Hong Kong. Eric shares with us more about the organization and his experiences.
Ecozine: How were you inspired to create A Child’s Right?
Eric: I had been working in 11 countries in hundreds of orphanages prior to starting A Child’s Right. My focus then was on providing clean and safe water to orphaned and institutionalized children for the long term. In 2006, while working in Cambodia, I saw the need encompassing so much more than what I was then focused on. Children in the urban and peri-urban sphere are normally overlooked by water agencies. The organizations land in the capital city of any country and then travel to the remote corners of the country to provide first time water access to rural villages which is incredibly hard and amazing work, to be sure. But my focus was on the children in the cities without water, on sites with high concentrations of vulnerable children. So I turned my attention not only to orphanages, but also on poor schools, street shelters, rescue homes, clinics and hospitals. We opened doors in January 2007, and have since opened offices in four countries serving more than 250,000 at-risk children with potable water.
Ecozine: What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Eric: Sharing a cool, clean glass of water with a child who has never had that privilege before!
Ecozine: Could you share with us a memorable experience you’ve had?
Eric: The best memories since my organization’s inception, and there are many, have been at rescue centres for trafficked women and children. Being able to provide just one very small piece toward the rehabilitation of the incredible survivors I have met has lit a fire in me to begin initiating a much broader focus on rescue and rehabilitation centres within our larger mission. We currently work extensively with Maiti Nepal in Nepal and AFESIP/Somaly Mam in Cambodia. That is not enough. We want to focus on all of Southeast Asia, every reputable centre doing work on behalf of survivors. It fits easily into our mission and we are working hard to bring it to reality.
Ecozine: What are the major challenges when working with impoverished populations in developing countries?
Eric: Keeping proper oversight and maintenance are hard within communities and populations that aren’t used to either. Our biggest issues have to do with either of these two factors more often than not.
Ecozine: China has been experiencing major instances of drought in recent years; what are some of the short-term solutions to alleviate problems to accessing water?
Eric: The sheer volume of water usage by urban residents is staggering. Simple, very simple, reductions in use could shed a significant part of the problem. Better water management at the home and municipal levels is also needed.
Ecozine: What are common technologies that your organization uses to provide clean water in developing countries?
Eric: We use ultra-filtration, UV, and carbon designed systems that are easy-to-use and maintain which our country directors install and oversee long after the initial project is completed.
Ecozine: What does your organization hope to achieve through the participation in the Run for Water event?
Eric: We will use 100% of donations to start our clean water for migrant schools project in Beijing. This clean water project will focus solely on provisions of potable water to migrant schoolchildren who live and go to school on the periphery of Beijing.
Ecozine: Where do you see A Child’s Right direction and what are the organization’s goals for the next 5 years?
Eric: We would like to be the preeminent urban water organization with offices in every country in Asia.

By: Ecozine Staff


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