Dubai art auction to fund safe water access in needy communities

The Covid-19 pandemic has shed light on how billions of people lack access to clean water and proper sanitation

A non-profit organisation in Dubai is auctioning art created by leading interior design houses to raise funds for safe water access in impoverished communities.

Surge for Water has been providing water, sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health solutions to needy communities around the world since 2008.

A gala dinner hosted by the organisation will see nature-inspired art pieces on auction to help the underprivileged in Uganda, the Philippines, Indonesia and Haiti.

“We have amazing local partners on the ground in each of these countries and we support them with what they need to achieve,” Marita Peters, from Surge for Water, said.

“The work that we do is that we drill wells, fix broken wells, protect springs, build rainwater harvesting systems, water filters and more.

“If people have access to these then it leads to improvements in education, health, income and their overall wellbeing.”

In 2020, about one in four people worldwide lacked access to safe drinking water and nearly half the world’s population lacked safely managed sanitation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) reported.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, 3 in 10 people globally could not wash their hands with soap and water in their homes.

Unicef estimated that if the trend continued, it would leave 1.6 billion people without safe drinking water and 2.8 billion without safe sanitation services by 2030.

Shilpa Alva, founder of Surge for Water, recalled work her organisation did in Uganda, where more than 1,000 people did not have access to safe water.

“They didn’t have access to safe water for years and they would walk so many kilometers every day just to get water,” she said.

“I remember that we had completed installing a water source there and a village elder, probably in his 70s, pulled me aside and said now children can go back to school and life would be better.

“He also told me about how he used to be on his knees, drinking from the same watering hole as the pigs and cows. He said the new safe water source would make him feel human again.”

Eleven design houses have built sustainable art pieces that will be on auction at a gala dinner on December 8 at The Address Dubai Marina.

One of the pieces, called Flocean, a sun lounger comprising blue face masks, hopes to raise awareness of ‘Covid-19-waste’.

“Inspired by the flowing forms of the oceans and the marine life within, it is designed to make a clear and bold statement about the immediate danger from Covid waste – countless single-use masks, gloves and visors that are daily being discarded in the oceans,” the designers behind the art piece said.

“Flocean not only uses this waste as an unconventional construction material, but also highlights it as a design feature in order to raise awareness of the situation.

“Personal protective equipment is vital to our safety, but dangerous to the environment when not properly disposed of.”

Another art piece is a freestanding solar-powered machine that acts as a safe water drinking source.

It can hold contaminate-free cold water using an ozone purification process, an electrostatic-antimicrobial air filter and a system to add nutrients back into the water.

Called Drinkable Air, the piece can also harness humidity within the air and convert it into drinking water.

“The main objective of the design is to create a sustainable and renewable energy water source that can assist in solving water shortages and reducing plastic waste,” the designer said.

“It is a freestanding machine that is fully solar powered, movable, and designed to eliminate plastic water bottles in offices, schools, hospitals and homes.

“The Drinkable Air machine will make, chill, store and dispense up to 40 liters of pure drinking water per day.”

Tickets to attend the gala dinner can be purchased online.

Updated: December 4th 2021, 5:08 AM