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Give drink to the thirsty

Associate Dianne Henke is a beekeeper. She admires the bees for their ability to work together to create a harmonious community. Creating this sense of community is what drew her to begin Global Partners: Running Waters, Inc., (GPRW) a nonprofit organization that gives villages in Latin America access to potable water.Dianne Henke unveils a plaque at one of the 60 wells completed by Global Partners: Running Waters in Latin America.

For the past 15 years, she has worked with this nonprofit organization that she co-founded with School Sister of Notre Dame Jan Gregorcich. The organization builds relationships through collaboration on water, food, health and education projects in Latin America, focusing on Guatemala.

Dianne and Sister Jan met and began GPRW when they were both looking to start a new ministry. They traveled to Guatemala together, and upon realizing the scarcity of clean drinking water, realized they found their new mission. In 2003, GPRW was born.

GPRW is successful because of the program’s structure. The entire village must be in agreement to receive assistance, build access to the water and maintain it. GPRW supplies the funding, guidance and training, but the village must do the work.

“We don’t build and leave,” said Dianne. “We give them access to potable water and they do the work to maintain it. It works through relationship building.”

GPRW believes that forming strong relationships with the people they assist in Latin America has four main benefits: sharing cultural and spiritual resources, improving health and living conditions, enhancing international dialogue and experiencing the best of humanity.

To date, GPRW has completed 60 water projects benefiting 41,000 people. Women and children no longer walk for miles to a polluted river to get drinking water, wash their clothes and bathe. They have clean water outside their homes. The children experience fewer water-borne diseases and attend school more regularly; the extra time made available to women allows them to find ways to increase the family income.

Dianne shares this insight to her work: “Why did we develop relationships with these people and share our resources? We are enriched by their example of community, their deep spirituality and the richness of their culture. We share with each other for the common good. Whether it is developing a relationship with the honeybees or farmers in Latin America, it is about seeing that we are ‘one.’ My life is rich and full with these relationships and, hopefully, together with the bees and farmers, I am making the world a better place.”

Learn more about GPRW and its impact.


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