US Non-Profit Makes Life-Saving Difference in Liberia
Rockwall — A Rockwall non-profit marked a major milestone last week in their mission to provide the world with clean drinking water.
“When they say, ‘Welcome to the end of the world,’ they say it a little tongue-in-cheek, but you can tell that beneath that is a very deep feeling of disconnect and being forgotten,” said Todd Phillips, founder of The Last Well.
That organization is dedicated to providing the people of Liberia with a source of clean, drinkable water.
Texans are familiar with the small African country of Liberia for a different reason. The country gained worldwide attention during the Ebola crisis in 2014.
“Monrovia, [a city of] 1.7 million people, looked like a ghost town” Phillips said.
Phillips and his team were in country during the most devastating outbreak of Ebola in Liberia’s history.
“We saw a total of three people on the road. It was the most surreal experience I’ve ever had, and we were there for it,” he said.
Their mission is to bring clean drinking water to the people of Liberia by 2020.
“If you think about Ebola, Ebola took the lives of about 4,000 people in Liberia,” Phillips said. “The same number of people die from water-borne diseases every forty days.”
Liberia is divided in to 15 counties, and last week one of those counties had a major milestone: All of its residents are now within a 15-minute walk of year-round, clean drinking water.
According to Phillips, that’s a first for the small county, and the first for any governmental region in all of West Africa.
“To say it was a celebration is an understatement,” Philips told us. “You’ve got up to a hundred people, mostly children, dying. One hundred a day, mostly due to water-borne diseases and illness, just inside this small country. For this region, children no longer die.”
Hand-made wells, rain collection, and sophisticated-yet-simple filtration units helped accomplish their goal. Phillips was only a few years into his mission when he realized another Texan shared a similar vision.
Former Dallas professional soccer player Doc Lawson is a Liberian native and humanitarian was also in country during the Ebola crisis. He’s now a full-time part of The Last Well’s staff.
“Child mortality is dropping precipitously,” Phillips said. “Kids who were going eight hours a day to get dirty water from creeks are now going to school, and they have a hope and a future.”
A future that starts with something so many of us take for granted.
Sebastian Robertson, WFAA-tv