We all know the pleasure of our ethereal ocean-side city, Santa Barbara. However, not every community is lucky enough to marvel at the beauty of the ocean while still being able to consume clean drinking water. That’s why we are so thankful for local non-profit Hands4Others, which is celebrating its three-year initiative with Water Missions International and launching Safe Water Timor Initiative in the Timor Region of Indonesia. Inspired by local pro surfer and youth activist Lakey Peterson, whose life revolves around constant contact with water, this campaign is committed to providing safe, clean water to 100,000 people in this less fortunate area of Indonesia.
H4O is a four-year-old Santa Barbara grassroots organization founded by several teenagers from the community. As a youth driven non-profit, it encourages youth leadership and celebrates iconic and inspired figures such as Lakey. “We are thrilled to be working with Water Missions International and passionate youth leaders like Lakey Peterson,” said H4O Executive Director Jeanne David. “The launch of the Safe Water Timor Initiative is just the beginning and we’re hoping to generate enough attention that people, especially youth, are inspired to get involved and make a difference.”
Lakey, 18-year-old ASP North American Surf Champion, began her own campaign with H4O, Surf4Water, this past July after seeing the desperate need for safe, clean water on the Indonesian island of Rote. With the initial goal of raising funds for six water filtration systems for Rote, Surf4Water’s success quickly expanded the goal into a campaign to fund 15 systems. Greatly surpassing her goal, these systems will be implemented by Water Missions International over a three-year period.
Water Missions International approaches its safe water projects with a plan that promotes several different aspects of water filtration and efficiency, including hygiene education, microenterprise training and solar powered solutions, ensuring long-lasting, sustainable and safe water. Local businesses are on board with H4O’s cutting-edge humanitarian mission. Sundance Beach, a Santa Barbara-based surf lifestyle company, has already jumped on board by donating funds to H4O.
Although fortunate enough to surf in clean water, Lakey recognizes how easily many people overlook the privilege of clean water. “When you have something as simple as clean water to hydrate, shower, clean clothes and even water the lawn, it’s easy to take it for granted. After seeing the water conditions of Rote, I am determined to continue to help make a difference and supply people with safe water,” says Lakey.
The initial phase of the Safe Water Timor initiative will begin in 2013 on Rote Island. The H4O and Water Missions International partnership is a commitment to complete five projects in the Timor region of Indonesia and hopes to expand as soon as additional funding is secured.
H4O demonstrates the power to change the current state of the world by providing access to safe, drinkable water. Ten countries around the world are currently provided with safe water because of the efforts of H4O and its generous supporters, and there is no stopping this amazing trend!
-Grace Piro Delia