Photo of the Week: Aloha from the Eco-Holiday photoshoot

Mia Wesley, Social Media Coordinator 

On March 22, Compassionate Eye Foundation celebrated World Water Day at the Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm in Puna, Hawaii! At this unique location the photographer and founder of CEF, Robert Kent, was joined by photographer Attila Pohlmann and the shoot producer Zoe Eisenberg collaborating together for a family themed Eco-Holiday photoshoot. Below is a behind-the-scenes shot from the day featuring three of our fantastic volunteers and photographer Robert Kent.

Unsure of what an eco-holiday is? Look no further! Eco-holidays, also known as ecotourism, are a responsible form of travel to natural areas that help to conserve the most pristine areas of our environment. This form of travel is much more sustainable than traditional mass tourism. Ecotourism is not only a more environmentally sustainable form of travel but it also helps to educate the local and global communities about the importance of environmental preservation.

The Hawaiian Islands have some of the worlds most complex ecosystems and consequently the islands are at a very high risk as climate change continues to threaten the ecosystems. There is so much to learn and explore throughout the various ecosystems of the Hawaiian Islands and eco-holidays are one of the best ways to do it. The Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm is an absolutely breathtaking facility which provides “the lower Puna community with purified, blessed and structured water.” Please visit the Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm’s website to learn more about their environmentally sustainable and innovative approach to the most sacred source of life: water.

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World Water Day

Lory Keller, Social Media Coordinator

Perhaps those of us with access occasionally take for granted the water we have at the turn of a faucet or the disease-prevention we have at the flush of a toilet or the easy access some of us have to greater health through exercise each time we dive into a local community pool. With such water conveniences available it is important for us to remember that there are millions in this world who go without access resulting in disease and death.

To raise awareness about this, the United Nations designated March 22 World Water Day. The UN’s designation of this day 22 years ago has paved the way to greater access for those in need. Compassionate Eye Foundation recognizes the importance of this and focuses on helping to expand access to education, health and sustainability using the proceeds from the sale of our stock images.

We welcome the opportunity to work with like-minded organizations, such as Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S), with whom we have worked on humanitarian ventures like the Kauk Chrey and the (very recently completed) Kompong Kleang water tower projects in Cambodia. Both projects bring quality water to over 1,000 formally underserved residents.

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Students enjoying a drink from the water tower at the Kauk Chrey School in Cambodia

 

We are also delighted to announce that to align with World Water Day, Compassionate Eye Foundation’s founder, Robert Kent, will be holding a photoshoot today in beautiful Puna, Hawaii. Kent will work with photographer, Attila Pohlmann on an Eco Holiday themed shoot. Be sure to follow us on social media for more updates!

If you’re looking for ways to participate in this year’s World Water Day to help others around the world in their quest for clean water, here are a few ideas:

  • Check out the events happening around the globe to celebrate progress and plan for future actions
  • Join in a Global Meditation Sunday, March 22. Register at Unify or on their Facebook page
  • Show your support and raise awareness by sharing what water is to you: Join the UN-Water’s #WaterIs social media campaign. Invite your family and friends to do the same, then watch as everyone’s messages are blasted out simultaneously!
  • Last but not least, volunteer or make a financial donation. At CEF, there are three ways we welcome you to make a positive impact: volunteer your time, donate your money, or purchase our fabulous stock photography through Getty Images. Make Compassionate Eye Foundation your feel-good stock-image source.

Help us ensure #WaterIs available for all!

World Water Day 2014

Leah Yee, Social Media Manager

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Every year since 1993, on March 22nd, the entire world comes together to recognize the importance of fresh water, and to take action to improve the ways in which we use it. Past World Water Days have focused on Water Scarcity (2007), Water Sanitation (2008), Water Quality (2010), Water and Food Security (2012), and more. The United Nations have designated 2014 as the year to bring attention to the vital nexus between water and energy, with a particular focus on worldwide inequalities in access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and food and energy services. This year’s events also looks towards the development of policies geared towards energy security and sustainable water use. 

CEF has always recognized the value of water for health and sustainability around the world, and we have pledge to fund numerous water-related projects in developing countries around the globe. In 2013, in partnership with Kids International Development Society, we helped to build a new solar-powered well with a 2500 liter water tank near the Kauk Chrey School in Cambodia. We are happy to report that now over 1,000 residents benefit from the clean water for drinking, hygiene and irrigation, and that the project is being replicated at the Moon Pek school later this year. 

A water tower in rural Cambodia, from K.I.D.S
A water tower in rural Cambodia, from K.I.D.S

In the spring of 2012, we started working with Free The Children to further expand access to clean water for schools and communities in the Masai Mara region of Kenya. The three water kiosks that are installed (so far!) provide much-needed water sources and sanitation facilities. Some of the additional benefits of structures such as these are the reduction of diseases, increased awareness of hygiene practices, and elimination of the need for children  to trek to far-off water sources.

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A water kiosk in action

We ask that today, and on all other days, you be conscious of the importance of water and take action towards positive change in the world. You can help us to continue to build clean water projects in developing areas through a myriad of ways. We thank you for your support!

Thank you, for one COOL event!

 

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Last night’s On the Rock’s Community Love for Clean Water fundraiser held at Heritage Hall was a wonderful event!

Sincere thanks to Jennifer Trayler and Danielle Nesbit of On the Rocks for initiating this event for CEF. They may be Ice Princesses, but they have the warmest hearts! Thanks too, to their family and friends who supported in so many ways!

The students from the Arts Institute’s Event Planning program Euthia Pham, Carla Pruner, Julia Wu and Ni Zhao did a wonderful job planning and preparing for the evening.  Thanks to the Culinary Students who took care of the food and worked behind the scenes in keeping tasty bites flowing throughout the evening.

The flair bartender, Daniel Branson, was exceptional and presented all the drinks, including the specialty drink featuring On the Rocks Ice spheres with panache!  Cakewalk Media captured the event with some great images

A highlight of the evening was the live entertainment provided by Greg Drummond and friends. Special thanks to the donors of silent auction items.  Many happy people walked out of the hall last night with beautiful purchases.

It was a terrific time to meet new friends and old.  It was a great night of connection – person to person, community to community. The event, held in celebration of World Water Day (March 22) raised money for clean water projects through CEF (if you didn’t catch the post about the recent project in Cambodia, read it here).

Thank you to everyone who supported this event in so many different ways! Stay tuned for more coverage and photos from what was definitely the COOLEST event in town!

 

Solar Powered Water System at the Kauk Chrey School in Cambodia.

CEF recently funded the building of a solar powered water system to serve Kauk Chrey School in rural Cambodia. The school had struggled with very poor water quality and quantity as theirs was inadequate and contained arsenic and iron. The new system by CEF will serve the approximately 330 children as well as many of their families by providing clean drinking water to the community – affecting about 1000 people in this very poor rice farming area.

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We recently received a letter from our partners at KIDS International who were there for the community celebration as the project was completed:

 

 

“Dear Compassionate Eye Friends,

The solar powered water project is now finished and the community celebrated this great asset for their school and village on February 24th and 25th. The water project went very well, the builders were very committed to doing a good job and the project was done in a timely manner and on budget. The one problem we had was that it took three attempts at drilling the well until the drillers were satisfied with the volume of water but in the end they were successful.

 

The celebration was amazing. The community came out in full force (hundreds of people). There were speeches and many thanks given to everyone who contributed to the water towers that were built for two communities. The commune chiefs, village chiefs and the head of the district education committee especially thanked Compassionate Eye Foundation for funding the water tower for Kauk Chrey school and community. They asked us to pass on their wishes to you all for a long life, good health and many blessings…. 

 

The next morning we went to the blessing (a smaller group of officials and community members). They had a white thread tying together the Compassionate Eye water tower to the platform where the monks were. We sat with the dignitaries and elders in front of the monks while they blessed the water tower and all those that helped bring this water to their community. After the initial blessing the community members lined up to put a spoonful of cooked rice into each monks bowl as well as one other bowl, made of banana leaf, that represented the ancestors and mother nature; this would be buried and go back to the earth. Once this ritual was finished we went back and gave the monks the rice bowls and all had another simple meal together.  

 

The event lasted two days and there were many inspiring speeches. It was very humbling and heartwarming to hear how much they appreciated Compassionate Eye and K.I.D.S. for our efforts in making these water projects possible for their communities…. as the weeks pass and we get deeper and deeper into the dry season, the ponds, ditches and residential wells have all but dried up and the search for water becomes a consuming task for children and families. This basic need for children and their families at Kauk Chrey school has now been met in a way that they could only have dreamed about before. The water is filtered three times and run through a UV light and comes out as clear and clean as water at home.

 

Over the two days of the celebration there was a constant coming and going to the water station during the day as children and people drank, filled their water bottles, containers and washed faces and hands. The smiles on the faces of the school children and villagers during the celebration said it all.

 

So to The Compassionate Eye Foundation and all of you who put in a huge effort to make this project possible, we would like to extend our most heartfelt thank you for your support, commitment and dedication to making a difference and changing lives here and in many other places in the world.

 

In Friendship
Rick and Adrianne”