China’s surging economy now accounts for 16.5 per cent of the global economy. The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. When national economic output is measured in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce US$17.6 trillion.

And yet as the world’s largest exporter of goods in the world, and the world’s fastest growing consumer market, parts of the Chinese mainland still lack basic necessities.

In the northwest region of Shaanzi Province, one of these is clean drinking water in schools.

“Access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation are the two biggest challenges facing large parts of our global population,” says Dennis O’Brien, President Elect of the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport, former Director of Consulting Engineering firm Norman Disney & Young, and key player in the formation of the NDY Charitable Trust.

“Through the direct connections of the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport to their peers in China – along with the efforts of fellow Rotarians in Taiwan – the NDY Charitable Trust has been actively contributing to the installation of SkyJuice water purifications systems in disadvantaged schools in rural China.”

According to Rotary reports, the majority of students in the Shaanxi Province were exposed to polluted drinking water. “The project involved the installation of Skyjuice water filters which have a service life of at least 10 years, ensuring students and teachers have access to clean, disease-free drinking water,” adds O’Brien.

The project continues the effort of providing clean drinking water to students in Central Schools in the Shaanxi Province. The Board of Directors of the Kowloon East Rotary Club approved the project and ten Central Schools – with an approximate total of 20,000 students – were selected as the beneficiaries.

Donations from the NDY Charitable Trust donations were made via the Rotary Broadwater Southport Club in Queensland.

The project commenced in May 2014 and was completed by July with a total project budget of HK$600,000. “Due to the school Summer holiday season, the water assessment was delayed until September,” says O’Brien. “Testing was undertaken in October and the successful water purity results allowed the Kowloon East Rotarians to formally hand over the units to the schools in late 2014.”

O’Brien says that empowering the locals is an important component of these SkyJuice projects. “The local Rotarians have provided training to the school maintenance staff to ensure continuous service of the units. These Rotarians have been very hands-on with the project by selecting the schools, negotiating contracts with local suppliers and contractors, and managing the entire project progress.

“Bringing clean water to these children has truly been an international effort.”