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Donor Highlight | A Tug at the Heartstrings to Help ATTA’s Children

Donor Highlight | A Tug at the Heartstrings to Help ATTA's Children

Based on an Interview with Barb Eljenholm

A look inside our donors and partners lives reveals why they choose to give their time and resources to help ATTA bring clean water and hope to the lives of children across the world.  Many have seen first-hand the children and their serious need for clean water as well as the conditions of their environments in Vietnam, Uganda, El Salvador, and in the face of disaster, which prompts them to partner with us.  Some have only seen the children through the eye of the camera lens in our photos and videos.  This month, we interviewed Barb Eljenholm to find out why she and her family have made the decision to support ATTA with donations on a monthly basis and why she donates time to help us.

Barb shared that helping ATTA was one of those ideas that tugged at her heartstrings when she first heard about the work being done to provide clean water to children.  She and her husband Mark had seen and heard ATTA Executive Director, Sean Kappauf, speak in his prior role as teaching pastor at Capo Beach Church, and were amazed by his insight, transparency, enthusiasm and heart for children.  A few times, Sean came back from trips to El Salvador and talked about the children and how ATTA was able to provide clean water for them.  The excitement in his voice as he told the stories was so evident that it truly touched the audience. 

Having heard very little about ATTA, other than the few times Sean mentioned it, Barb began to quietly research the non-profit to find out more and to see if there was some way she could help. After finding articles, information and the annual reports for ATTA, she was amazed to find out how much of an impact ATTA was having.  She was also encouraged by how simple the solution is:  Sawyer water filters and a system that provides a family whose children are suffering from water-borne diseases with clean water for 20-40 years.  Having come from the environmental field and working for an engineering firm who sent crews to countries in need of clean water to build systems that took years and depended upon many factors, this ATTA solution seemed so much less damaging to the land and so immediate in helping children. They could immediately have safe drinking water that wouldn’t cause disease and sickness. Barb quickly began to see the children through the eyes of the ATTA camera lenses and wanted to be a part of helping them.

In late February of 2018 Sean announced that he would be moving to ATTA Full time, and that day, Barb emailed him and offered assistance in public relations and writing, and also offered a framework for ATTA’s marketing display. In April, on a planned vacation trip, Barb and Mark found themselves not vacationing, but building the Sawyer water filtration systems for schools and people on the north shore of Kauai after the disastrous floods closed the roads.  The many stranded people’s wells had been contaminated--a true health issue for the many young children and elderly people there.  The filtration systems that ATTA sent with Mark and Barb were boated out to them by Malama Kauai, a local non-profit organization that was providing disaster relief. Barb saw the hundreds and hundreds of plastic water bottles going in the boats which could never be enough to serve the needs, and talked to the very thankful people at Malama Kauai about how much more sustainable and reliable the filtration systems that ATTA sent would be for those stranded. In disaster areas the water bottles can become a huge problem with plastic waste when there is so much other waste from the storm damage.

“Sean mobilized so quickly and we filled a suitcase with the filters for the stranded North Shore, went to buy the buckets and taught the great people at Malama Kauai how to build and clean them”. Barb said, “To this day the filters are being used and are there for emergency needs at schools and homes.  Although you don’t hear too much about it, access is still not fully restored 8 months later.”

One ATTA Time is a simple and secure way to help children across the world gain access to clean water, whether in disaster areas or in places like Uganda, Vietnam and El Salvador.  If a $50.00 donation each month can provide clean water for one family for 20-40 years, we can be a part of helping each family and each child, one at a time. Over the course of a year, $100.00 per month provides water for 2 new families, or 10 people each month, which means in a year we have helped 120 children and parents within 24 families and it will last them 20-40 years.  Together, as a partner with ATTA, we can have the type of positive impact that will give them health, hope and better lives. We think this will tug on a lot of heartstrings.

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