Service Opportunity: Help Provide Safe Water

April 11, 2024  

The Water Gift – A Charity Providing Safe Drinking Water


At The Illawarra Grammar School, we take immense pride in our caring community and recognise the invaluable impact of community service on our students’ worldview.


Former parent of The Illawarra Grammar School, Dr Martin Butson, is the founder of a charity called The Water Gift. The Water Gift exists to provide safe drinking water to displaced and vulnerable people who are unable to access clean water for their families. Many people are surprised to learn that the UV light received from the sun is sufficient to kill some of the most harmful bacteria found in water, but how much UV light is required? And how can displaced people with no access to electricity know if enough UV light has been received to make their water safe to drink? 


Dr Butson and his team have designed a unique and innovative solution that guarantees that water is free of potentially lethal pathogens and, therefore, safe to drink. Their product is called the SAFE Sticker (You can read more about it here).


The SAFE sticker is cheap to manufacture and easy to use; once the sticker changes colour, it indicates that the contents of any plastic or glass bottle has received sufficient UV light to be safely consumed. Dr Butson and his team have been invited to travel to refugee camps in Myanmar and Cambodia to provide aid and distribute as many SAFE Stickers as possible to families who are in desperate need of support.


He has asked for our help


We are calling for student volunteers in Years 9 and 10 to help ensure The Water Gift has an ample supply of SAFE Stickers to take with them when they fly out on Monday May 6th. With the help of dedicated student volunteers, we will be assisting with the production of thousands of SAFE stickers every afternoon during Week 1 of next term from 3.30pm – 4:45pm. Students are free to pop in to make a contribution or to stay for the duration to help us maximise our contribution.


We will meet at H Block. All materials required to make the stickers will be provided. Dr Butson will outline the simple process to be followed before we commence in making SAFE stickers.


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