, , , , , ,

About Our Mission: Defythirst.org from Defiant Motion Pictures on Vimeo.

Matt Turner and Stephen Dupuis needed to make a change. While still in college they started Defy Thirst in order to help combat the water problem in areas of the world that need it most, and have since been able to create sustainable communities that go way beyond providing clean drinking water. Their mission and work speak for themselves. And they are nothing short of amazing.

Love + Water- How did you and Matt begin your work with Defy Thirst?
Stephen Dupuis- When Matt and I were in college we were interested in exploring different ways to provide aid to those in need, but we first wanted to see what the needs were for people outside of the U.S.  We started doing scientific research in water-born diseases, and had the idea to work on some water filtration systems.  We started to build some in our garage and testing them to see how we could come up with innovative ways to filter water.  Soon after we started our own non-profit, got 501c3 status and went ahead with this project.  

L+W- Where did you implement your first system, and how much have you expanded since then?

SD- We started by bringing water filtration systems to areas in Africa that needed them, and then assessed what else these areas might need.  We now do intervention programs that include water sanitation and hygiene, so that the filtration systems we implement can be self-sustaining.  If we didn’t do this, there are great chances that the systems we provide would become contaminated and not last very long.  This way we are able to ensure that the systems will last.

L+W- What projects are you working on right now?

SD- Right now we’re in Africa, in Ghana, installing a water system that provides a gallon of water per minute for their community.  We’re also in Haiti starting to build a foundation for a school and some soccer fields, as well as building extra water systems.  It will be really exciting when the school is formed because I’ve been talking to a group that trains teachers there, so we would love to work with them to build a better educational system within that community.

L+W- What is the most moving moment you’ve had so far?

SD- We were at a family’s house in Haiti where we were staying on that trip and had just sat down for dinner.  The family started thanking us for all we had done and how much it means to them, and that they had been wanting help for so long and hadn’t received aid in over 18 years.  That really got me.  Also, when we go there and see kids with bloated stomachs because they only eat one meal a day, if that, and they have topical diseases makes me want to go back and do more.  I can’t imagine living there my whole life with such a limited amount of resources to live from.  We built a couple of houses while there as well, and realized how much more we could do if we had more of a financial foundation.

L+W- Is there anything else we should know about Defy Thirst that we haven’t talked about?

SD- Some people think we only provide clean water, but we actually focus on community planning as a whole.  So many times we’ve seen water systems set up in communities, such as wells, without further education on how to utilize it as part of the community and its benefits don’t last.  So we really work on coming up with plans that enable communities to thrive after we leave.  That is the most fulfilling part of what we do.  

Visit Defy Thirst: http://www.defythirst.org/
Follow Defy Thirst on Twitter: @Defythirst
Join the Defy Thirst Facebook Fan Page