NewsPinellas County


Clearwater mom's nonprofit helps bring sustainable fresh water to thousands in Africa

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Posted at 7:54 AM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 16:14:15-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A Clearwater woman is preparing to make her eighth trip to Africa since 2018. However, Nermine Rubin is not vacationing, she’s changing lives by bringing water and food to the most impoverished villages.

“They are walking three to four hours a day, many of them children and women, through rocky grounds, hardly any good shoes, and they are drinking water that is not even fit for a pet,” said Rubin.

During their first trip, Rubin and her daughter Samantha saw firsthand the challenges people face.

“What really touched me was seeing the deadness in their eyes, they had this vicious cycle of poverty,” said Rubin.

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So Rubin made it her mission to not only help those in Africa but educate students right here at home.

Students at Clearwater Central Catholic High School aren’t carrying 45-pound buckets of water to cool off but to learn what it’s like to live in these impoverished villages.

“Even though we are so far away I feel there is nothing that is too small that we can’t do that would help make a difference,” said senior Valerie Kohlhepp, who helps lead fundraising efforts with classmates.

Rubin calls the nonprofit organization Water 4 Mercy.

“There is water in Africa you just have to get to it,” said Rubin.

Water 4 Mercy teamed up with Innovation Africa, using Israeli solar and water technology. They’ve worked to drill holes hundreds of feet deep to reach aquifers in 10 different villages across Tanzania, bringing fresh, clean drinking water to more than 35,000 people.

"Once you drill a lot of the times these villagers have never seen clean water ever come out,” said Rubin. “It is the means of not just drinking better and being healthy but also planting seeds for good food.”

The mission is not as expensive as you would think. To dig the holes and install the infrastructure to supply water to a village of 5,000 people, only costs $55,000 total, and they are set for life.

That’s because the pumping system for this water is all run on solar power. Water 4 Mercy teaches the villagers how to use it, so they take full ownership.

Rubin said it’s really become a sense of pride for the whole village. She said the phrase “life-changing” is thrown around a lot, but in this case, it couldn’t be more appropriate.

“This one woman was pregnant, and the very first baby that was born in this village with clean water, and the thankfulness, like they cannot thank you enough,” said Rubin.

For more information on Water 4 Mercy click here.