Meet Nermine Khouzam Rubin, the Founder and CEO of Water 4 Mercy, an establishment with a mission to eradicate water crisis, unemployment, and poverty in underprivileged African villages.
Originally from Africa, Nermine is an immigrant from Egypt to the USA. She is the youngest of five children and has graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville, earning two Master Degrees in Business Administration (MBA) and Healthcare Science (MHS). She was blessed to be able to retire from her full-time job as a HealthCare consultant to stay home and raise her daughter and son, who are now 23 and 22 years old. It was her daughter Samantha who opened her eyes in the summer of 2014 when she volunteered at Upendo Orphanage in Moshi, Tanzania, about the problems of Africa where people often do ‘without’ the basic needs like water, that most of the people from the first world countries take for granted. Samantha told her that these people had to walk for hours to collect water that was often dirty or contaminated with life-threatening diseases and was unfit for drinking. Such was the gravity of the problem that people had to resort to drinking the blood of animals to quench their thirst!
Nermine visited Tanzania and firsthand saw the dire, desperate conditions, especially the lack of water in the remote areas of Africa. Realizing that her past efforts over the years in providing funds for education, food, clothes, medical care, etc., were more of a “band-aid” solution, Nermine decided to find a long-term and sustainable solution to solve the problem of water scarcity while also providing a means for the villagers to gain financial independence. She remembered meeting her step-son’s friend, author Seth Siegel, back in the fall of 2016, and read his bestselling book, “Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water Starved World” at the first chance she got. The book described Israel’s advanced and innovative water technologies including Drip Irrigation, for optimal agriculture outcomes, and that is how she got inspired to find her establishment, Water 4 Mercy in the year 2018.
Water 4 Mercy has collaborated with “Innovation: Africa (iA)” and together, they have been assessing underprivileged areas to help the villagers get the life-supporting resources. First, they install a solar-powered well accessing water that is trapped in the aquifers below the ground in regions where there is drought and hunger. Then, a pump is inserted into the shaft with a solar panel connection to reach the aquifer. This water is then deposited into a water tower that local villagers help construct, thus giving them employment opportunities. When water is needed, it is propelled by gravity with the help of these pumps to supply water to the destinations around the village. This installed system is resistant to breakdown, vandalism, or theft, i.e., problems typically faced by water systems installed by many aid organizations, with the help of remote monitoring.
iA’s remotely monitored solar water pumping system provides over 20,000 liters of clean water per day per village. Because of Nermine and her collaborations, there is enough water for drinking and also for implementing Israeli developed drip irrigation systems throughout the village. This allows families to grow more food with less water and provides a means for financial independence by selling the excess crops at markets. The entire process is efficiently tracked by experts and any fault in the system is rectified by the technicians as soon as it is detected.
Nermine hopes that Water4mercy will expand and lead to a collaboration of like-minded organizations, working together and sharing resources to better the world. She is so determined to help humanity, that she spent her entire savings of $50,000 on funding a water well in a village in Dodoma, Tanzania, instead of spending it on a much-needed car. A devout Catholic, Nermine elaborates, “When my heart stirred, I responded with a “YES” and sprung into action. I am now using the ‘talents’ that God gave me to do His work here on earth and to make this a better place for all. Today, we are ‘teaching the teachers’ and incorporating models of self-sustainability to generate profits immediately. This is what God wants me to do”.
To inspire others who want to offer a helping hand to their fellow humans, she says, “First ask God to guide you as to what to do with your talents. Then Listen for your heart to stir and act on it!”