As Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies would say, “One million dollars!”
That’s how much the Austin-based, non-profit Gazelle Foundation has raised to build pipelines that provide clean, accessible drinking water to people in Burundi, Africa.
Local drum-beating, run-with-joy-shouting coach Gilbert Tuhabonye founded the non-profit foundation in 2006. In 2009, the orgniazation built its first water system, for 1,500 villagers in the country, which is sandwiched between Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Burundi was mired in civil war from 1993 to 2008, and Tuhabonye is a survivor of the genocide there. According to World Bank statistics, the country ranks as the second poorest country in the world, behind Congo.
“This is an exciting day and a monumental achievement, thanks to the generosity of thousands of Austinites,” said Tuhabonye, chairman of the board of the foundation. “Without the community support at Run for the Water, Spring for the Water, Walk for the Water and countless contributions from individuals and schools throughout Central Texas, we could not have reached this day – and I believe it is only the beginning.”
The Gazelle Foundation is one of only a handful of charities working in Burundi, according to a press release from the organization. The water systems being built there use gravity to carry water from underground natural springs. They require no pumping and little maintenance.
In all, the 24 water delivery systems built by the foundation incorporate more than 70 miles of underground pipes.
This year’s Run for the Water 10-Mile, 5K, Kids K and Global Run event is scheduled for Nov. 1.