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Build a well, inspire will, take down a wall

September 27, 2017.
Through SOPAR, an organization dedicated to helping communities in need help themselves, Spirians banded together to bring clean drinking water to a village in India. SOPAR provides access to tools, resources, and empowering partnerships that foster sustainable development and capacity building. 

Partnering with community members in the village, we helped build a well that provides clean water. Easy access to clean water not only improves health outcomes, but also improves access to education and employment for women by reducing the time spent gathering water for basic sustenance.

A common philosophy 

This project really spoke to us for many reasons. Of course, it feels good to do good, especially since we live in such a privileged society, where water is something we can take for granted (until we have too much of it, that is!). But more than that, there’s something about the SOPAR model that reflects what we do every day at Spiria, in our regular work.

Built to last

Photo SOPAR.

SOPAR doesn’t just hand resources to needy communities: as part of the model, the community has to buy in too, contributing funds and labour, and even more importantly, community involvement through a committee that drives the project. So, while the physical outcome of the project is a well that has many different positive impacts on the village, the process provides even more benefits: those involved gain experience in community development and infrastructure, and in organizing and managing people and projects.

The power to do more

In the process, the SOPAR model fosters entrepreneurial spirit and innovation: the well itself supports innovation by improving quality of life and meeting basic needs, without which communities can’t get ahead; then, the process of planning, organizing and building the well empowers participants to innovate in their own way going forward, fostering sustainable, continuing, self-driven success. 

Great minds think alike

Photo SOPAR.

SOPAR’s humanitarian goals dovetail with the way we approach our work with clients. We help them build tools that create the space they need to get more out of their work, and therefore spur innovation. We work together with them, in a collaborative process, rather than handing them what we think they need and then walking away. We strive to enable our clients to do more, and to set them on a path of sustainable innovation and success. SOPAR uses the same approach to effect real, lasting change in vulnerable communities, by working with those communities to build their own power and momentum.

Leaving our mark

We’ve been thinking about SOPAR a lot lately, because we’d like to keep that momentum going – maybe with a new project or humanitarian initiative. Our Montreal team recently gave back to the community by helping out with community clean-up. The devastating floods in the Gatineau region prompted both spontaneous and organized acts of kindness and generosity. Every day, we see proof that people who work together can have a big impact on quality of life.

Our experience with SOPAR was incredibly inspiring: we love that project because it built something lasting – not just a well, but a future of freedom to create, improve and innovate. It also made a lasting impression on us by showing us that we really can make changes in the global landscape, and in the lives of others, when we approach it as a team. There’s so much work to be done, but it can be done, and we can help do it.