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Jon Rose

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I Thought Professional Surfing Was Hard, Then I Started A Water Charity

On World Water Day, the unpredictable challenges of water charities

I became a first responder by accident. I had planned to go to Indonesia so I could surf and do some charity work, handing out water filters to help people who had trouble accessing clean water. I had 10 filters with me. But while I was there, I was caught in the earthquake around Padang, Sumatra. It’s incredible to think, but those 10 filters—which exceeded Environmental Protection Agency purity standards without anything more complicated than gravity and a few ounces of hollow fiber membrane—saved thousands of lives. It was a profound, divine moment that catalyzed my life. It also left me with the naive impression that helping people access clean water would be easy. It isn’t.

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