With 1.5 million children dying every year due to water-related illnesses, the need for clean water and improved sanitation is affecting many communities worldwide.
This need has inspired Reece Plumbing to support water projects in underdeveloped communities.
A desire to highlight the important role that plumbers play in preventative health care shaped the inaugural 2015 Reece Grant initiative, which offers $25,000 in products or funds to a Reece customer undertaking a water-related project in an underprivileged community.
Applications for the second year of the grant are now open and will close on 30 September.
The first year saw the grant divided between three recipients to help fund projects in India, East Timor and the Philippines.
Justin Morris received $15,000 and partnered with the ‘We Can’t Wait’ foundation to spend ten days in Nasik, India constructing toilet facilities at the Jila Parishad Prathamik School.
During the assignment, Justin helped build 12 toilets, hand washing facilities and two 1000L water tanks for the 650 children attending the school.
“What impacted me the most was the kids and just seeing how excited they were,” he said.
“I’m a simple plumber just looking at putting in some toilets for these kids but they saw it as so much more.”
Education on proper hygiene and the use of the toilet was also provided as part of the project.
“One of the teachers decided to be more interactive and did a song. All the kids learnt it and were singing it at home with the parents listening,” said Justin, adding that hopefully the parents would learn about proper hygiene and be encouraged to install a toilet at home.
“I really encourage any other plumber to help the greater community and be part of these grants that Reece are offering,” he added.
The grant is open to Reece customers involved in a project due to be completed before 30 October 2017.
Reece business development manager, Adam Watson said: “It is our preference that the applicant has a hands-on involvement with the project however it is not essential.”
Shortlisted candidates are interviewed with the winner selected based on the contribution their project will make to the community in providing clean water and sanitation.
“We take into consideration the value or quality of life improvement the project will have in creating a healthier and happier community,” said Adam.
Other selection criteria include the entrant’s ability to describe the project and outline how the Reece Grant funds will be used.
Adam said applicants do not need to be managing a project themselves but can be donating their time or expertise to a project coordinated by a charity or organisation.
Supporting customers who were already involved in these types of projects was one of the reasons behind the grant’s inception.
“Last year we were overwhelmed with the amount and quality of entries we received,” said Adam.
“If you have a passion for helping others, then the Reece Grant could be the helping hand you need to complete or get a project underway.”
For more information or to apply for the grant head to: www.reece.com.au/grant