Read Open Hand's clean water proposal for Chipaya online
, or download
Read about Faces of Dignity
, and book and exhibit fundraising for the wate project.
introducing the Chipayan people and their ancient, living culture.
Open Hand is also working in Jordan
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to see past and upcoming projects.
Chipaya is a remote Indian village high in the Bolivian salt plains. Rarely visited by outsiders, its nearly 2,000 villagers live in basic mud huts and speak their own unique language. They are the only remnant of the once great Uru-Chipaya civilization, which many centuries ago roamed much of central South America. Pushed back and decimated over time by powerful enemies, the Chipaya decided to ensure their survival by migrating where no one else desired to live—on the Andean plateau’s harsh salt plains. Knowing no other group would never want the land, they settled and thus have survived until today. Yet throughout that long history, the people of Chipaya have never had access to safe, potable water. At an altitude of 12,000 feet, the air is thin and the land almost infertile. Runoff from the Andes brings large annual floods, but the local water supply is permanently contaminated: On a medical trip to the village, doctors from Healing the Children found almost 80% of local residents infected with water-borne diseases every year.
Open Hand Studios staff have been traveling to Chipaya since 2002, and during one recent visit local leaders in the village asked if OHS could help them fix their water problem. As a result, Open Hand and partners Healing the Children have developed a simple but 99.99% effective purification system that will filter adequate daily drinking water for all of Chipaya’s citizens. Operated and maintained directly by local residents, it will help ensure this vibrant community’s health and cultural survival for decades. Fundraising for the project has begun, both with Faces of Dignity and direct donations.