Burmese children's clean water from Rotary

Last updated 11:40 02/01/2014

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More than 1000 Burmese school children are set to benefit from clean drinking water thanks to members of a Palmerston North Rotary club.

Twelve members of the Rotary Club of Milson, and a couple from Auckland, are flying to Myanmar next week to install water filtration equipment at four villages.

The team will be led by Graham Harrison, who visited the country five years ago. During that visit he installed water filters on a well for one village. This year's mission will see clean water brought to wells in four more villages.

Mr Harrison said the locations were chosen with help from a contact he made in Myanmar during his first visit there.

The wells are near schools that collectively teach more than 1000 children, and orphanages.

"All up, it will affect about 10,000 people," he said.

The trip was largely self-funded by those going on it, though the club had raised money towards the cost of the equipment needed, including finding support from Palmerston North's Burmese community.

Club president Graeme McCullough is not going on the trip, but has been heavily involved in its organisation.

He said there was a lot to be mindful of, including that the infrastructure installed was maintainable for the villagers and that introducing clean water would not have unexpected negative consequences.

Ultimately the trip was about helping children and providing clean water, two of Rotary's goals.

"We wanted it to help children in the orphanages, the schools. The external village will also benefit."

Mr McCullough said he hoped the club could be involved in more clean water projects in Myanmar.

The benefits from the first filtration system, installed five years ago, were apparent, he said.

"We've seen the changes. Better health for the kids has meant better learning for them because they're not unwell - they're much better off."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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