Laura Banks is a volunteer blogger and is currently completing her second year of Professional Writing at Algonquin College in Ottawa. She's passionate about the arts, social sciences, literature, social activism and music.
This year, WaterCan celebrates 25 years of bringing clean, safe drinking water to the world’s least developed communities. On this special anniversary, it is fitting that we look back to the beginning of WaterCan and remember the man who founded it - humanitarian, scholar and visionary - Michael Lubbock.
Early in his banking career, Michael Lubbock was drawn to helping the “down-and out” in London, England. After serving in WW2, he joined one of the UN’s first organizations – UNRRA (United Nations Refugee Relief Agency) - and helped restore hospitals in Athens, and then as an employee of UNICEF, raised funds all across Europe to help the needy children, so damaged by the war. While working in Peru for four years in the mid-1960s, he was struck by the deep poverty and poor health in rural areas of that country and in many other areas of South America, caused mainly by the abysmal water and sanitation conditions throughout.
Moving to Toronto in 1968, Mr. Lubbock founded, and was the Executive Director of the Canadian Association for Latin America (CALA), an organization partly supported by the Canadian Government, that promoted trade and closer relations between Canada and Latin American countries. In 1976, Mr. Lubbock moved to Ottawa and, with strong memories of the desperate need for safe, clean water among the poorest, and the dream of directing appropriate aid to the neediest, he began the special work of building WaterCan.
Because of having developed many strong contacts in government and in private business through CALA’s work, Mr. Lubbock was able to garner valuable support for WaterCan in its early days. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided seed money for a small office and eventually, the charter to recognize WaterCan as a legitimate Canadian charity was granted in March, 1987. The following year, the WaterCan Board of Directors reluctantly accepted Michael Lubbock’s retirement request, thanking him for his “inspiration, dedication and plain hard work…[his]commitment to principle…[and his]personal decency and charm.” (WaterCan’s Resolution of the Board, Thursday January 21st 1988).
Michael Lubbock died in 1989, knowing that his creation had put down strong roots and would survive. Since his death, Mr. Lubbock’s widow, Christina, has maintained close contact with WaterCan and its staff. Today, she speaks of her late husband with great warmth and respect, saying simply, “He was magical.”
With the support of a growing constituency of Canadians from all walks of life – who have placed themselves strongly behind Michael Lubbock’s vision of Clean Water for All – WaterCan has grown enormously in carrying out its noble work. Undoubtedly, were he here, he would be truly proud of its great accomplishments and its commitment to maintaining the strong goals of its mandate.
Heartfelt thanks to Christina Lubbock for her time and resources.
Earth Day is April 22. If you’re looking for something meaningful to do, why not join Aveda's Walk for Water? The nationwide walk will take place in fifteen different Canadian cities with funds raised going towards WaterCan projects that will change thousands of lives through the gift of clean water!
In Ottawa, the 6km walk will start at Cartier Square Drill Hall (next to Ottawa City Hall) from 11am. There will be music, food, and fun in store among people united for a great cause.
The campaign’s goal is to raise $475,000, which will provide clean water and sanitation for communities in the developing world. As of March 30th, Walk for Water participants have already over $33,000! This year marks the fifth Walk for Water sponsored by Aveda - a beauty company that cares deeply about the environment. Over the past six years the Aveda network in Canada has raised over $1.2 million dollars in support of WaterCan's clean water and sanitation projects.
Walk for Water funds will:
• Improve and sustain hygiene and sanitation in underdeveloped and developing communities
• Create economic growth in communities through easier access to clean water
• Educate Canadians and the international community about global water issues and what we can all do to help
• Save lives!
Collect fundraising pledges or just show up and walk in solidarity!
To learn more or to sign up for Walk for Water, visit: www.iwalkforwater.ca
The world has become very small in terms of information flow and availability. With the click of a mouse, we can find out anything and everything, which can be overwhelming, especially to the current generation coined “digital natives” – those born and raised in the digital age.
They face a barrage of information second by second and must decide which information is worthwhile for their purposes and, more importantly, which information is trustworthy. This is what makes specialized student-oriented websites developed by organizations like WaterCan so effective for global education in the classroom and getting students actively engaged in charitable efforts.
According to Statistics Canada, apart from word processing, the internet is the tool that is most widely used by students in elementary and high schools. It makes perfect sense that advocacy and educational organizations like WaterCan harness the power of the web to further connect with students.
WaterCan's Water Wisdom Portal is an interactive website for students and teachers seeking to engage with local and global water issues! Students and teachers have educational , fundraising and advocacy tools at their fingertips and are easily able to connect with others who share their interest in building a world free of water-poverty. This website is equipped to meet the increasing demand for global and environmental education resources and caters to the evolving needs of web-savvy students and teachers.