I will say that I’m lucky to meet the people I do through my work, but often, I am also astounded about their abilities not only to move through the world, but actually, to change it. Jon Kaufman is an inspiration, as he stands for all of these things. An advertising executive by trade, Jon started H2OpenDoors, a global project to provide water purification systems to villages in the developing world following a cruise with his late sister, where they witnessed the disparity of the “haves” and “have nots” following a picnic on an island beach. As they departed the shoreline heading toward their cruise ship, after an afternoon picnic on a secluded island, they looked back to see the descent of hundreds of indigenous families ravage through the trash to eat from the remains of the lunch they had enjoyed only moments before. The jarring image was an emotional awakening for Jon. At that moment, he promised his sister that he would do something about it. And he did. Only six years later, Jon’s technology model brings capacity for over 50 million gallons of safe drinking water to the rural poor in 11 countries including Thailand, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Nepal, Tanzania, Kenya and India.
Providing the equipment for schools, hospitals and villages to become self-sufficient through each enterprise created through his model, H2OpenDoors advises and mentors Women’s Water Councils and village elders on running a successful enterprise for their village that funds social services and break the cycle of generational poverty. Recently he wrote Long Walk on a Dry Road, the Education of a Water Warrior to chronicle the people and places he has encountered throughout the world over the past six years. The stories underscore that the project is as much a water mission as it shows his preference of self-reliance over dependency.
He heads up new missions every few months to continue making a difference in the lives of those without access to fresh water, while bringing them hope for the future. If you would like to learn more about H2OpenDoors, donate or join for their next trip to Africa, check out the website or give us a call! I am also happy to set up an interview with him if you are interested in writing more about his journey.