August 20, 2013
By Simon Chambers
Water is a powerful sacred symbol for Anglicans: from baptism to the Eucharist, it plays an important role in our life of faith. For Indigenous people in Canada, water is also a sacred gift from the Creator. Often for PWRDF, water is a key to programs””access to water is a basic necessity of life that is too often missing in communities around the world.
As part of its Connections program, PWRDF is working to bring these three understandings of water together through the Pikangikum water project. Through the Advent Conspiracy, a group of parishes in the Toronto area and beyond began to raise funds for a water project in a Canadian First Nations community, and approached PWRDF and Bishop MacDonald for suggestions of how and where such a project could be completed. They have already raised over $36,000 of their $100,000 goal for 2013.
Thus was born the Pikangikum water project. The Pikangikum First Nation is a community of about 2200 people located about 100km north of Red Lake, Ontario. It is “”¦an impoverished, isolated First Nations community where basic necessities of life are absent. Running water and indoor plumbing do not exist for most residents,” according to a 2010 report on youth suicides in the community.
The project will provide water and wastewater systems to 10 homes in the Pikangikum community, providing a cistern for drinking water, a wastewater holding tank, and the necessary fixtures and fittings, as well as providing training to four residents in plumbing skills to maintain the water system.
PWRDF is working with the Frontiers Foundation, a non-profit aboriginal voluntary service organization that promotes the advancement of economically and socially disadvantaged communities. Frontiers Foundation is successfully using the Anglican financial commitment to raise from other donors to raise the additional $115,000 needed to complete the project.