New School Alumni Supporting Climate Resiliency in Dominica
By De-Ann Abraham and Jamila Durdygulyyeva
In the aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, the Prime Minister of Dominica, a beautiful and mountainous agricultural Island in the Caribbean, made a bold declaration to the United Nations that Dominica will become the world’s first climate resilient island nation. This year alone is a great example of how Island nations will continue to accrue great losses, including loss of life, from hurricanes and other impacts worsened by climate change. While Dominica’s goal is being realized, there is a need for short-term solutions to help communities keep safe and healthy during the transition.The Ceramic Water Project is a solution to help families in the Northeast villages of Woodford Hill and Wesley in Dominica whose water supply has been severely compromised after Hurricane Maria. The ceramic filters make rainwater and river water safe for families without the need of boiling and chlorination. We are raising funds with a goal to provide 1,000 water filters to 1,000 families. The filters can last up to two years, which coincides with the length of time a new water purification facility is expected to be completed. 100% of donations go directly to purchasing, shipping, and distributing the water filters. Donations are tax deductible due to a sponsorship by the Association of Dominicans in the Northeast USA INC(ADNExUS)- a nonprofit that Identify and support programs that promote the island of Dominica, health being a key program focus.De-Ann grew up on Dominica and had this to say about her project; "After Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominica on August 18 leaving over 30 dead, I was not able to get in touch with my family for 3 weeks. Once communication via WhatsApp became available, my family was able to send me a few photos of our village. The devastation was immense and most of the homes were severely damaged. Things are very slowly getting back to normal but the village still remains without electricity and running water. The government estimates that it will take up to one year to get electricity and running water back to the area. There are 365 rivers on the island, so accessing water isn't an issue, but ensuring the water is safe for use is. From my experiences living in Dominica, I know firsthand how the devastation of hurricanes like Maria affects the population's quality of life. It was important to me to work with my village's leaders to help the community suffering there, and this project was designed to alleviate that suffering."In the face of global climate change, we need to help those negatively affected by it at the grassroots level, while the bigger fight to mitigate climate change continues. Supporting an island like Dominica that has boldly committed to climate resilience can be the first step.De-Ann Abraham is a nonprofit strategy consultant who works with nonprofits to improve their programming, processes, and culture. She graduated from The New School with a M.S degree in Nonprofit Management with a concentration in Social Entrepreneurship in Spring 2016. She is passionate about using participatory analysis and systems thinking to tackle social, economic, and environmental issues in communities. Jamila Durdygulyyeva recently joined the Academic and Experiential Learning team at the Institute of International Education. She completed her M.A. in International Affairs with a focus on Human Rights and Development from Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, The New School in Spring 2016. She is passionate about human rights, immigration, and gender equality issues.