UVA innovators looking to bring clean water to Africa

Thy Nguyen says she hopes to bring PureMadi to every community in need of clean water.
Thy Nguyen says she hopes to bring PureMadi to every community in need of clean water.(GRAYDC)
Published: Oct. 13, 2017 at 2:57 PM EDT
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University of Virginia innovators are in Washington showing off their ideas for a clean water future. They were invited to the first ever ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival, bringing 15 universities together for a weekend of science, engineering arts and design.

The idea from current and former UVA students is bringing water filtration to a new level. PureMadi is the name of their nonprofit and their mission is to fill the need for clean water.

“One of the barriers is really the education aspect about really the importance of water health and why it’s important to disinfect water,” said Thy Nguyen, an officer with PureMadi.

Nguyen says they have two facilities running in South Africa, where they work with communities to build the filters. They get most of the resources on the ground and teach locals how to make them.

“They can form a business through it and create the filters to distribute it through homes where they can be used,” said Nguyen.

They say it is a public health problem-solver and a business opportunity. Molly Tyeryar, treasurer of PureMadi, says they use local potters, who tap into a flush clay supply, to build the pots.

“They’ll work and put their skills to use as well as using it as a community center for people to come together and just be together and work toward a common purpose,” said Tyeryar.

She says seven years into the project, she thinks they *are making a difference.

“We’d like to see the results impact communities so much that we get even more communities that sort of champion the cause,” said Tyeryar.

The UVA innovators say they want to take PureMadi elsewhere in Africa and eventually bring clean water everywhere there is a need.

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