In the San Isidro community in Canóvanas, 95% of the 5,000 families that live there lost their homes partially or completely as a result of hurricane María.
The story is the same community after community, municipality after municipality in Puerto Rico, says Harimau Conservation, a non-profit environmental organization. Without shelter, without essential supplies, these communities are part of the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans facing an uncertain future.
To help them recover, and through an alliance with Fundación Banco Popular’s Embracing Puerto Rico project, Harimau Conservation has created an initiative for these communities to know that they are not alone.
Under the motto “Sun+Water+Connectivity”, the Ray of Moonlight project seeks to alleviate the needs of these families by providing them with the independence of renewable energy, access to potable water, as well as educating them on how to take advantage of the ecosystem where they live by working in solidarity and ensuring their wellness.
That is precisely the area of expertise of the Harimau team, whose goal is to educate about the importance of conserving green areas around the world through self-management. In the case of Puerto Rico, one of the most worrying issues after the hurricane is access to safe drinking water.
Joaquín Alonso, one of the founders of Harimau, explained that providing a sustainable water system to the victims is a priority right now, so they have partnered with the Planet Water Foundation team to provide an innovative solution.
Planet Water Foundation is a non-profit organization with international experience in the distribution of drinking water in the most disadvantaged communities. Through the collaboration with Harimau, Planet Water will provide water towers to various communities in Puerto Rico.
“Our AquaTower water filter system will provide a clean and safe water supply for people who are in need at these critical times. Each AquaTower produces 1,000 liters of drinking water per hour,” said Mark Steele, founder and chief executive of the Planet Water Foundation.
“We are eager to help the people of Puerto Rico by using the support of our donors to bring clean and safe water to the people who are in need after hurricanes Irma and Maria,” he added.
According to the co-founder of Harimau, Glennisse Pagán, some 12 water towers will be installed in communities like San Isidro in Canóvanas, other communities in Humacao, as well in Castañer.
“What we hope to achieve with the towers of drinking water are many things… the solidarity between neighbors, the security of having clean water to drink and a sustainable lifestyle during this time. In addition to the water towers, we bring an educational component about the correct use of our natural resources and the importance of protecting them,” Pagán said.
The work of Ray of Moonlight goes beyond the water towers. In order to restore communities, they are committed to self-management and that is what they are teaching in all the places they visit.
They are also providing lamps and solar chargers, which in turn serves to promote the proper use of natural resources. In addition, after the installation of the water towers, the initiative will continue. In December Harimau will hold a yoga festival in the communities they visited.
“Through alliances we seek to offer tools to organizations, communities and individuals to help each other. We inspire solidarity and bring out the best in each of us during the uncertainty of each day,” says Pagán.
“I remember this 10 year old girl who told me that she has dream that may not come true, which is to help other people in Africa. In December I hope to return with that yoga festival and help these children to aspire to live a life without the limits that have imposed on them socioeconomically”, she concluded.