SOURCE: Compassion International

March 17, 2008 15:11 ET

Compassion, Healing Waters Help Poor Tap Into Safe Drinking Water

United Nations Celebrates World Water Day This Week

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO--(Marketwire - March 17, 2008) - In the developing world, clean water represents life. Finding it can be a challenge to the poor, who often can't afford it.

The United Nations is observing World Water Day on March 20 this year. Five thousand children die each day from water-related illnesses such as diarrhea, according to the U.N., partly because clean water is too expensive or inaccessible in developing countries.

That's why Compassion International's partnership with Healing Waters International is crucial, bringing clean water to 17 Compassion-assisted projects in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Guatemala.

Healing Waters, a 6-year-old nonprofit based in Golden, Colo., currently has 60 systems in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala and Kenya. They work through indigenous churches by building self-sustaining projects that make safe drinking water accessible to the poor. The organization joined forces with Compassion in 2003, opening a church water project in Consuelo, Dominican Republic, that offers affordable clean water to the community.

Compassion International, a leading Christian child development organization, works with more than 65 denominations and more than 4,500 indigenous church partners in 24 developing countries.

"The Compassion/Healing Waters partnership is much more than just the distribution of water -- it's about saving lives," said Gregg Keen, executive director of program development for Compassion. "When you consider that more than 1.5 million children under the age of 5 die each year because they don't have adequate sanitation or clean water -- this joint endeavor takes on a greater purpose and mission."

Partnering with Healing Waters makes clean water affordable to the families of Compassion-assisted children. In addition, when Healing Waters projects are located at a Compassion program, water is donated to the program.

Healing Waters is committed to providing the highest quality water at the lowest price in every community. The water meets or exceeds all governmental health standards for purity.

In Consuelo, Healing Waters installed a purification system at the Biblica Cristiana Church which partners with Compassion. The purified water costs customers a fraction of the market rate. Weekly, 1300 customers line up to fill 5-gallon containers they buy from the church, or they bring their own to be sanitized.

Since 2002, Healing Waters has distributed more than 50 million gallons of water, including more than 15 million at Compassion programs.

"No one does more to help children in the developing world than Compassion International," said Ed Anderson, chief executive officer at Healing Waters International. "Providing clean safe drinking water at Compassion projects improves learning, child development, family health, and productivity. We are privileged to be Compassion's partner. Compassion International partnering with Healing Waters International is a win - win for the developing world. We just want to do more and do it faster."

Compassion International serves more than 1 million children in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Since 1952, Compassion has touched the lives of more than 1.8 million children and has been recognized for its financial integrity with top ratings and recommendations by several of the nation's leading not-for-profit "watchdog" organizations.

For information on sponsoring a child, visit Compassion online at compassion.com or call (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT.

For information about Healing Waters, visit healingwatersintl.org, call (303) 526-7278, or write Healing Waters International, 534 Commons Drive, Golden, CO. 80401.

Note to Editors: For more information about Compassion International, please visit compassionnews.com. To arrange an interview with Gregg Keen, please contact Steve Yount of A. Larry Ross Communications at (972) 267-1111 or steve@alarryross.com. To arrange an interview with Ed Anderson, please contact Dan Brown of Healing Waters International at (303) 526-7278.

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