Waynesburg student provides clean water and endless smiles in Kenya
Several hundred people in Kenya have access to clean water because of Alex Tenenbaum and his drive to positively affect those dying due to a lack of basic needs.
The junior information technology major at Waynesburg University led the EcoStewards Club in raising several thousand dollars for The Water Project in an effort to provide clean water to a primary school in Bukhaywa, located in western Kenya. With a population of 760 students, 18 teachers and three sub-ordinate staff, the school had previously gotten water from a stream.
Water collected from the stream was not clean, and it was two kilometers away.
The project involved the repair of a hand-dug well, which served the community and school from 1994 to 2006, when it was contaminated and later vandalized.
Co-sponsored by the EcoStewards Club, Tenenbaum and other members of the organization raised $5,050 within three months, and within three months from reaching their monetary goal, they had confirmation of project completion in pictures.
“The whole project was a challenge,” Tenenbaum said, “but I just kept in mind my goal. It was all about the kids there – not about me and the struggles I went through to make this happen. When I saw the pictures, the smiling faces of all those people over there, it really hit home.”
With one of those pictures now adorning the wall of his dorm room, Tenenbaum needs only to look at it for motivation for his new project – another well in another part of Africa. As he manages his busy schedule of classes, preparing to study abroad in Italy next semester, working ten hours a week and attending EcoStewards Club meetings, Tenebaum continues to reserve time for his passion, in hopes of funding the repair of another well by the end of this semester.
“When people ask me, ‘Who are you impacting?’ My first thought is the world.” Tenebaum said. “It might sound crazy, but we really did. We made a difference.”
Tenenbaum has hopes it will be easier for him this time around – he is enrolled in fundraising and environmental biology courses with the goal of learning more about how to reach his goal and of the effects his project could have.
“Plus, I can tell people, I did this before. I already raised $5,050 once. I can do it again,” he said.
One of Tenebaum’s life goals is to use his God given talents and the knowledge he gains at Waynesburg University through his information technology major and sociology minor to help the disadvantaged.
“I want to use technology to make a difference,” Tenebaum said. “I’m not sure how I’m going to do that yet, but I’m confident I’ll figure it out.”
Some would say he already has.