Clean drinking water is a privilege now enjoyed by most of the world, but certainly not all of it. In fact, according to the Water Project, 783 million people worldwide do not have access to clean, safe water.
Lukas Graf, who works as a laboratory assistant at CSL Behring’s leading-edge manufacturing facility in Bern, Switzerland, wants to help lower that number. He realized that one of CSL Behring’s suppliers occasionally needs to discard fully functional - and safe – filters due to being in a highly regulated industry where minor issues can cause them to be unusable. His desire to bring clean drinking water to impoverished communities around the world led him to utilize these filters to help people in Cambodia, Kenya, and Myanmar (so far).
Read on to learn more about this interesting CSL Behring employee.
Years with CSL Behring:
Cambodia, Myanmar and Kenya. Most of the filters are in Cambodia; we installed a few filters in Myanmar and Kenya last year so we could observe them and see if future projects in those countries are possible.
Name of Nonprofit Organization:
Warm Blankets Switzerland (www.warmblankets.ch)
Number of People You Have Helped Achieve Clean Drinking Water:
We are currently at more than 50 locations, most of them are in orphan homes, but one filter is in a rehabilitation center in Myanmar and three in schools in Kenya. My wife and I, along with a small team including two colleagues from CSL Behring, made another trip this past summer and installed filters in 12 more orphanages. In addition, we improved the filter design and in three homes we added activated carbon filters to improve the smell and remove chemical pollution. As of today, approximately 1,300 people, most of them orphans and staff, have been helped through this work.
Number of Children Impacted by Your Organization:
Warm Blankets Switzerland helps to sponsor orphans through partner organizations in three countries.
Most of the kids impacted are in Cambodia (approximately 2,500 children). We have also made a difference in the lives of approximately 100 children in Myanmar and about 200 children in Kenya.
Favorite Place You’ve Been:
Goals for Your Organization:
Our goal is to support healthy development of orphaned and poor children around the world, starting with ensuring that they have clean drinking water. Our current goal is to put filters in all of the orphan homes that Warm Blankets Switzerland supports and to grow the water project. After all, there are still 782,998,700 people left with unsafe drinking water.
How did you get the idea for your nonprofit?:
My wife and I have been heavily involved with the organization for many years and then were asked to take the leadership in 2017. The vision and idea to support orphans was already set. We brought in the water project.
I’m proudest of professionally:
I can use the professional skills that I have acquired through my work to have a better understanding of the world around me and how it works. I have a deep knowledge and acquired skills with chromatography (a laboratory technique for the separation of a mixture) and I am proud of the work that I have done for CSL Behring in this specialized technique.
I’m proudest of personally:
That I’m married to my wonderful wife and we can do this awesome work together in developing countries.
Goal I’m striving toward now:
I want to do more to help the impoverished and make a difference for the poor in this world – to build bridges between the developing world and our world.
Best advice anyone ever gave me:
“Be outward focused.”
My idea of the perfect day:
A day’s work in an orphanage installing water filters, when I know that because of that work, the lives of those children have been changed for the better.
My most prized possession:
What I value the most is not a possession, but my experiences – the person I have become and how my experiences have formed me into who I am today.
Something most people don’t know/understand about my job:
That in the laboratory I work with modern technology like computer-controlled machines instead of smoking colored liquids in flasks and tubes.
What motivates me is:
I’m motivated by the hope for a better future and that I can make a positive change in the world.
The most interesting thing about me is:
Through my traveling to these counties my life became fuller and my horizons broadened. Because of this I came to realize what a great life I have and it made me a thankful person.
Lukas and his team work as volunteers and are looking for people to partner with them. If you would like to learn more about the water project, provide support or to join him on a trip you can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.warmblankets.ch.