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October 26, 2009

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October 26, 2009

Thirst-Aid is an amazing grassroots organization. In 2008 they managed the single largest ceramic water filter emergency response in the world in response to cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. This organization is about empowering and enabling people to help themselves. Education, empowerment, innovation and integration. Please check them out next time you really want your support to make a difference in the world.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hire a US based executive director, help build an active, engaged board of directors, plan and build one or two regular fund raising events per year.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the concrete changes and improvements in the lives of the people that Thirst-Aid works with. Thirst-Aid uses eduction, local industry, and social marketing to create sustainable behavior change and improve the quality of life for the people serve.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Dedicated, hard working, passionate. The people who work for and with Thirst-aid want to change the world, one sip at a time!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Not only deliver safe water education and technology to every at risk person in Myanmar, it could begin satellite programs in five other at risk countries expanding its successful intervention model across the globe.

Ways to make it better...

Thirst-Aid was bigger and had a larger us based staff. The majority of the staff is in Myanmar which can make communication difficult on important matters. This is beginning to change though.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

size, location, and as always, money. Thirst-aid could use a major grant to take its programs to the next level.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Despite its small size Thirst-Aid gets amazing results by utilizing the local population, networks and by taking calculated risks in the field. Thirst-Aid has shown over and over that it is the little aid organization that CAN!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 5, 2009

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October 5, 2009

We visited Curt and Cathy Bradner of Thirst Aid and some of the water filter factories in Burma last year, and we believe this is an exceptional program. They are both gifted in engineering, and in finding practical solutions. They are also gifted at finding local people who share their goals, and training these people, and then giving them responsibility for the program.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

visiting some of the sites where they were making ceramic water filters in Burma. We met the people working with them, and saw how careful they were about quality control and education.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Traveling with Curt and Cathy Bradner. They are caring, capable, and a lot of fun. They have great ideas, like training bike medics as a variation of an English class at Dr. Cynthia's.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 4, 2009

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October 4, 2009

I am a teacher at a school in the Netherlands, we have students who have learning problems. For us it is important to do something for a good couse, but it is also important for us to learn our student something about why it is so important to help others. We came in contact with two great people from the USA who spend all their time in Birma. There they have the organisation Thirst Aid. They build factories where locals make water filters. With every filter they produce, they save lives, because it means clean water to drink! We receive at our school pictures, posters, e-mails and so on and so on, and with those materials we teach our students about Birma, the problem with the drinking water and what Thirst Aid does to help the people there. Every year for the last three years we raise money around Christmas, all the students raise money, and we send it to Thirst Aid, and so we help them help others. Through the personal contact with Thist aid, this really means something to our students and teachers and it motivates us to do everything we can to help them. Last year we welcomed one of the founders of Thirst aid at our school and he thanked all the students in person! He came in to every class and showed his film and pictures he took in Birma, and our students were so proud they could help! It was really great and we promise to go on raising money for this great organisation and their great volunteers!! Elske The Netherlands

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen pictures and film and I've seen what great work they do for people who need clean water!!

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

We have personal contact, we get informed by e-mail and by post. We even got visited at our school, all the way in the Netherlands!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Great people!! I have the at most respect for them!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

save so many more lives, every child and adult that has clean water in stead of dirty, dangerous water is a live saved!!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 4, 2009

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October 4, 2009

I met Cathy and Curt on campsite in Spain. We excanged some insults about our tents and transport and emptied a botle of pernod together. They told me they were cycling around the world and they looked very well prepared on there big tandem. We kept in touch throug the e-mail and after a year I understood they found their place to be in the north of Thailand close to a Burmese refugeecamp, where they did a lot of good work. They asked me to build them a website and after a while they asked me if I would like to teach te children in the refugee camp how to build a website. I'm not a regular hero, I hate food I don't know and specificly don't like bugs. So 'wimp I am" I asked Curt if I would be encountering animals on les or more than four legs. And naturaly Curt sad NO. He had forgotten the pictures of the snake in his basement he had sent me a few weeks before. But to make a long story short. I went up and loved every minute of it (even the encounter Curt had with a very big lissard, that made him screem, there is jusitice in the world you know). The kids were fantastic. To be honest I learned more from them than they dit from me. But I hope I have been an nice distraction from the endless and hopeless situation they were in. A few years later Curt came to Holland and together we had a nice time at my firm and at a school, where he promoted to good work he and his wife are still doing. We don't see each other much, but I'm very fond of Cathy and Curt. And I truly admire the things they accomplish. The don't talk but act! If you are looking for a good cause to spend some money I'm sure they are it. They don't spent much on overhead and the money comes at te place were it can do it's good work. Most of the time they even tell you were they spent your money on. Keep up the good work!!!!! Eddy

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Thailand

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

be stuppid

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

talking with the children. See the diverence between them and us. Realising that things and money is nice, but you can do fantastic without.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Friends. They showed me around. And let me do my thing, with help, but without interverence

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

solve even more problems then they are already doing already on a tight budget.

Ways to make it better...

If I was better prepared. I made the goals I set for the children to high. Luckly I was able to ajust it during the proces. But apart from being a nice distraction, I didn't accomplish much. Although I loved every minut of the experience I had.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

politics in the countries they are working in.

One thing I'd also say is that...

the system they use is very honest. People have to take an exam in how to use the water without being sick. Only when they passed the exam (wich I think they all do if they participate) they can get a waterfilter. So if you are rich you can't buy it.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

October 4, 2009

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October 4, 2009

I was the Water and Sanitation Manager for the British NGO Merlin in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis for six months in 2008. Providing potable water for the cyclone survivors, who depended mostly on rainwater harvesting from roofs and in small reservoirs, was of great concern. Reservoirs had been contaminated and water storage containers lost. Assets and income to purchase water had also been lost, and coping mechanisms for water shortage had been damaged. Furthermore, even before the cyclone, water from the reservoirs, shallow wells and storage containers would have been contaminated and could not be considered safe to drink. Ceramic water filters made by local entrepreneurs, using mainly local materials and local labor, were one of the best viable options for treating water to remove pathogens. In collaboration with UNICEF, Thirst Aid provided local entrepreneurs with the training and assistance they needed to manufacture high quality filters. Thirst-Aid surveys showed that training the users led to more sustained use of the filters. So, Thirst-Aid trainers trained the staff of UN agencies and NGOs who buy and distribute the filters. Then, these staff train users on the importance of clean water as well as the correct use of the filters. Thirst Aid also provides free inspection of filters and can train client organizations to inspect the filters, thus ensuring a high quality product. Thirst-Aid’s methods include the transfer of skills and knowledge that help local people to set up viable businesses that use mainly local materials and labor. Thirst-Education teaches people the importance of clean water, which will foster lasting demand for the filters. These methods should ensure the sustainability of the intervention and its effects. Not only that, the international staff are training national staff to manage operations in Myanmar so that international staff can concentrate on expanding operations to other developing countries. Thirst-Aid continues to work to refine and improve its methods. Without Thirst-Aid, providing a sustainable source of safe water for cyclone survivors would have been much more difficult. On a tiny budget, Thirst Aid enabled several entrepreneurs to manufacture tens of thousands of ceramic water filters for cyclone survivors, while providing free training and inspection. Thirst-Aid staff, both international and local, showed an impressive dedication to improving the health and livelihoods of the most vulnerable members of the population. Dollar for dollar, in spite of the extremely difficult context, Thirst-Aid’s intervention in Myanmar was one of the most effective, sustainable and cost-effective operations I have ever seen, in over 30 years working in water and sanitation in relief and development in developing countries.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

supplying water filters that people can use at home to purify water. They trained my staff to train users to correctly use and maintain the filters and in the importance of consuming clean, safe water for themselves and their children.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

help them expand their operations. It is a very small NGO with some very good ideas and approaches. They deserve an opportunity to continue and to expand so they can help more people.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their dedication and openness and willingness to keep working to improve the effectiveness of their operations. They were always helpful and willing.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

fantastic - extremely and sincerely dedicated, hardworking and sincere. I wish more of my staff had been like them!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

start working in other areas of Myanmar and in other countries, setting up country offices to support the set-up of more entrepreneurs to manufacture more water filters and improve the health of more people.

Ways to make it better...

their operations had been more advanced. The demand for water filters far outstripped the capacity of the manufacturers to supply them.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the difficulties of expansion: it's a very small organization with a small staff and will have difficulty raising money among all the competing organizations with long records.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I imagine all this sounds like an advertisement, but these folks made a believer out of this rather skeptical old relief worker. What they managed to do on a miniscule budget was just amazing. The most vulnerable of the world will benefit from them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

October 3, 2009

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October 3, 2009

I first met Cathy and Curt Bradner when they moved to Eugene in 2005. They previously traveled around the world on a tandem bicycle and landed in a Thai refugee camp where they saw a need for safe water. Using ingenuity they found a way to use pottery water filters made by locals. The project has grown at an amazing rate and after spreading to Myanmar, they now have eight factories employing over 150 people. The Bradners live simply and have devoted their lives to saving other.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The Bradners keep in touch with their donors and friends and each email tells amazing stories of their progress.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

This is a relatively new project and it is growing at a reasonable pace. I would not change anything, other than to hope their financial support increases.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Seldom does one have the opportunity to personally know and appreciate the devotion and sacrifice made by a couple of Americans who saw a need and have done something about it.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

I know and appreciate the Bradners and their daughter Bree who have worked so hard to make Thirst-Aid a success.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

I believe the Bradners have the knowledge and energy to spread their educational program (Thrist-Ed) about why safe water is necessary and teach the building of the filters to many more areas of the world.

Ways to make it better...

My experience could not have been better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

So far, working with one of the world's most difficult and repressive regimes in Myanmar has been a challenge. As their work may spread to other countries, the politics may become easier.

One thing I'd also say is that...

The Bradners are two of the most devoted and unselfish people I have ever met. They desire no creature comforts. They travel light and often to meet this critical need for safe water.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 3, 2009

more

October 3, 2009

Thirst-Aid gets right in with the people. You won't find them staying at a resort or even renting cars. They deliver right to the people. When they showed up after the Tsunami disaster. They found a village home that was willing to let them rent a space for very little money. They walk or ride a bike. This puts them in a position to really know what a village needs and who the true leaders of a village are. Can't go wrong donating to Thirst=Aid. Sharon MacConnach

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Money you send gets spent like you hope it would.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Educate a huge segment of the population on how to have safe affordable drinking water.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 3, 2009

more

October 3, 2009

We know the founders of Thirst-Aid, Curt and Cathy Bradner for more than 25 years. It started with a bottle of wine on a French campground in 1991, continued with Colorado beer during long discussions about how to improve the world in 1994 and led to common water bottle replenishing during a 1999 bike trip in Europe. We have seen the Bradners go to Mynmar and establish Thirst-Aid from scratch in the desire to do something good for the local people. Their vision to make sure also the poor should have easy access to reasonably pure water has been like an obsession. They have developed adequate technology, built kilns and production lines, established relationships and appropriate education to help out with their skills and their energy. While WHO is discussing a human rights-based approach to water Thirst-Aid has already delivered in numerous cases. The technology of locally produced ceramic filters has a great future, please support the organization if you also want to improve the world!

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

- every dime donated is well spent - driven by desire to help - down-to-earth approach with appropriate technology - adaptation to local environment and needs

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

- absolute integrity - completely unselfish - persevering - ingenious technical skills

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 3, 2009

more

October 3, 2009

Thirst-Aid is an incredibly resourceful organization set up by two wonderful people. These folks create jobs at their in-country water filter plants, then educate people about the benefits of drinking clean water. Only after the proper groundwork is in place do they distribute these ingenious filters that can keep a family in clean water for many years at a very reasonable cost. This organization delivers the most impact for the least amount of money by creating local opportunity, delivering education and finally ensuring families drink clean, pathogen free water.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Myanamar

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

none

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the people!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Passionate, friendly and intelligent

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Simply deliver on the promise of clean water to almost all rural families in Myanmar

Ways to make it better...

none

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Educating Americans about their processes

One thing I'd also say is that...

Money donated to Thirst-Aid goes a long way to promoting good health.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 3, 2009

more

October 3, 2009

We have known Curt & Cathy, the founders of Thirst Aid for about ten years, since their first trip to Thailand and encounter with the Karen refugees there. Since then we have visited with them almost every year.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

its first stages. That is in the development of its water purifying filters. Curt, Cathy and Liz and I have spent a number of hours in Mae Sot discussing the Karen refugees and the best ways to help them

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting two very big hearts with impressive engineering competence. In some ways they represent typical American "can do" competence, except they listen better than many Americans.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

go a long way toward solving the world's need for clean potable drinking water.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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