Water, Electricity From Westport And Israel Transform Uganda

Nearly every day, the “06880” tagline — “Where Westport meets the world” — is proven true.

Today’s story takes us to Uganda.

Last year, the Kaners — 2nd selectman Avi, his wife Liz and their 3 kids — were looking for a new charity for their family-owned supermarket to support.

Innovation: Africa seemed perfect.

Drinking water, for many Africans.

Drinking water, for many Africans.

The 8-year-old non-profit uses Israeli solar technology to bring electricity and clean water to African villages, dramatically improving and transforming lives in 7 nations.

Morton Williams Supermarkets’ annual golf tournament raised enough funds to develop a solar-powered system in Bukaduka, Uganda. Pumping water from deep underground, it saves women and young girls from walking several kilometers, many times a day, to fetch parasite and worm-filled water, shared by livestock, that causes diseases like cholera and typhoid.

The water is also tied in to a drip irrigation system, which provides food and income for farmers and their families.

That’s great stuff. But the Kaners did not stop there.

Last month, Liz — an extraordinary volunteer with a variety of local organizations — and her daughter Julia headed to Uganda. They got a first-hand glimpse of the lives changed by their water system. It pumps 16,500 liters of fresh water a day in the village.

The water supply today, thanks to Innovation: Africa.

The water supply today, thanks to Innovation: Africa.

Touring Bukaduka and other villages, the pair saw the incredible impact solar-powered water and electrical systems have on schools, orphanages and religious institutions. Hospitals too — lights have replaced kerosene lamps, while refrigerators can store medicine and vaccines.

The Kaners were greeted with skits, songs and dances. They were presented with homemade gifts.

But none of those gifts compared to the smiles on the faces of the men, women and children Liz and Julia saw — and the water and electricity that flowed — as they traveled to the remote Ugandan villages that now enjoy the fruits of innovation.

Liz and Julia Kaner, with some new friends.

Liz and Julia Kaner, with some new friends.

Watch Liz and Julia Kaner turn on the solar-powered fresh water system for the first time in Bukaduka Village, Uganda:

Watch Julia speak to the villagers during the water system dedication:

(Click here for many more photos and videos from the Kaners’ journey.)

7 responses to “Water, Electricity From Westport And Israel Transform Uganda

  1. I graduated Staples in 2013. I go to University of Michigan and am studying Organizational Studies with a minor in the Ross School of Business. My mom and I went on this trip with no previous preconceptions of Uganda. Our entire lives turned upside down the second we got off the plane. Not only were the remote villages incredibly poor, but the urban areas and non-existent infrastructure made us gasp. It was hard to fathom the poverty. At some points throughout the trip, it seemed like there was too much help to be done. But after seeing the contagious smiles, laughter, and appreciation that the villagers gave us after Innovation Africa’s projects, I knew that change and hope was in fact possible.

    As a side note, one of my favorite parts of the trip was taking “selfies” with the children and women. They had never seen their reflections before, so everywhere my mom and I went we showered them with selfies. Their shock and smiles were definitely a highlight.

    I will forever treasure this experience and the incredible work that Innovation Africa does. I hope that back on campus I can bring awareness to this organization and perhaps create a fundraiser to raise money for an additional prospective village.

  2. Bravo! This is great stuff that makes us all proud of being a citizen of Westport and the world – the family of humanity.

  3. This is a remarkable story. Great work by the Kaners!

  4. Bravo Kaners!! What an amazing journey, one that will continue its impact well past your travels.

  5. Susan Hopkins

    An amazing family. An amazing journey of a lifetime. Respect and Blessings, Kaner family.

  6. Every part of this is Incredible! You guys are amazing! What a gift!

  7. Inspiring behavior Kaner Family! Proud to know Liz! Helping those who don’t have.