A group that includes a number of recent Rockland Community College graduates has initiated a project that extends a helping hand to African nations which desperately need clean water. As stated in its name, Just Save One is not out to heal the world’s ills but follows the philosophy “you can make a difference if you save just one person,” said Stony Point resident James Borchers.
The organization points out that the problem of water quality is at epidemic proportions and that on current pace by 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population will suffer from water shortages. At present 1.1 billion people (one in six worldwide) do not have access to clean water and every year 1.8 million children die from waterborne diseases.
Borchers, a 2012 graduate of the University of Miami, notes that the idea for Just Save One germinated from a conversation he had with another original group member Kennedy Ogoye when they were both attending RCC about three years ago. “Kennedy opened up my eyes to how water borne illnesses can cause disease because he grew up in Kenya where this is a very serious problem. Hearing something like this from a close friend is very different than seeing it on TV. So many people could have opportunities in life if they were just given the chance.”
At that point Borchers and Okoye started raising awareness of this life and death situation among other RCC students and soon had Wilkenson Francois, Sholom Gable and Kuldip Singh as members of their team. After a year of work and planning, the founding group that now numbered seven people, contributed an initial $1,000 to get Just Save One officially underway. Those first funds were used to build two large water tanks for an African primary school and provide lights in an eighth grade classroom.
Borchers credits much of Just Save One’s success to RCC President Dr. Cliff Wood who is a member of Just Save One’s advisory board. Borchers commented, “Dr. Wood has a great love for students and has provided support for me and many others. He pledged to make a $5,000 contribution if we raised $10,000 including our work in goods and time. He also provided us with t-shirts to raise funds through sales on the Internet.”
Other advisory board members are Dr. Kristopher M. Baker, Division Chair of Mathematics, Natural, & Health Sciences at Rockland Community College and Joab O. Okello an Administrative Law Judge with the State of New York.
In the last few months Just Save One has established a presence on Indiegogo.com an international fund-raising web site. At this point the group has gained 41 new contributors.
Another indication that Just Save One is making rapid progress is that Ogoye and Singh will be participating in the upcoming Clinton Global Initiative conference at Washington University in St. Louis, MO from April 5-7. Over 1,000 outstanding students will be meeting at that time to discuss world issues including education, environment and public health.
For additional information or to make a donation go to www.JustSaveOne.org or www.indiegogo.com.