This past April, a group of Wheeler employees journeyed to the Altiplano region of Bolivia to serve the remote Andean village of Alto Peñas located roughly 13,500 ft. (4,115 m) above sea level. During the week-long expedition, a water system more than 3 mi. (5 km) long was constructed. Wheeler’s expedition team worked alongside villagers to dig trenches and connect, place and bury the water pipes. The water system, benefitting 80 families, will improve health conditions and personal hygiene as well as decrease the infant mortality rate.
CHOICE Humanitarian works with motivated villages to connect them to resources and tools to break the cycle of poverty. As a community, Alto Peñas came together and decided water was its top priority.
A village committee was formed to oversee the execution of the water project and ensure problems would be fixed if they were to arise. Prior to the arrival of Wheeler’s expedition team, the village laid the ground work for the project including digging portions of the trenches and securing pipes and other supplies. Without a water project, Alto Peñas had no access to clean drinking water. Villagers drank non-potable water from springs and handmade wells often contaminated by latrines.
While in Bolivia, the expedition team had the opportunity to visit a dairy cooperative processing plant that Wheeler’s dollars are helping to fund. The team also visited a local school and participated in a water project dedication at a neighboring village.
Since then, $280,124 has been raised via Wheeler employee payroll contributions and a generous 2-to-1 company match. Wheeler will continue to send a group of employees on a humanitarian expedition each year throughout its partnership with CHOICE provided the annual goal of raising $50,000 is met.
"I applaud Wheeler Machinery for their commitment to end poverty in our back yard and abroad. Wheeler Machinery Co. employees are part of the corporate movement to create lasting impact for those living on less than two dollars a day. I’m humbled and inspired to partner with such a forward thinking company," said Leah Barker, CEO of CHOICE Humanitarian.
For more information, visit www.wheelercat.com/bolivia.
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