Boulder, Colo.-based Asia Transpacific Journeys is lending a helping hand to victims of this month’s deadly cyclone in Myanmar by stepping up its already-established clean drinking water program.
Operating through its nonprofit, charitable arm, the Asia Transpacific Foundation, the tour operator is providing clay water filters to cyclone victims via its Yangon facility. While the water filter facility sustained damage to its roof from the cyclone, its kilns are still operable and the foundation is “ramping up filter production.”
Cyclone Nargis, which hit the island nation formerly known as Burma on May 3, has since claimed the lives of more than 22,500 according to the country’s military government.
Asia Transpacific Journeys originally established its Asia Transpacific Foundation in 1996 to deal with clean drinking water issues on a year-round basis. The foundation is volunteer driven and all of its tax-deductible donations go directly to producing and firing clay filters, which are distributed to the local population.
“Our foundation is uniquely poised to provide direct relief to those without drinking water,” said Asia Transpacific Journeys founder and owner Marilyn Downing Staff. “We’ve operated our Clean Water Initiative for several years in Myanmar, and are among the very few authorized, licensed and legitimate operations of its kind, in a country that normally spurns foreign NGOs [non-governmental organizations].”
Downing Staff and her company are asking for donations to aid in the cyclone’s relief efforts. A $100 donation provides clean drinking water for 20 children. A $10,000 donation funds the construction of an entire filter production facility, which employs 20 people and can produce 100 filters a day.
“Many people feel helpless in the face of such suffering. By donating to the foundation anyone can make a real and lasting impact. Clean, drinking water can help alleviate disease and provide comfort and health to these people,” she said.