Atlanta Attorney and Philanthropist Brings People Together to Solve Water Problems in Impoverished Communities

Kansas City, MO (March 20, 2013) Atlanta attorney and philanthropist Dan Phelan is leading the charge to bring water and sanitation facilities to impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic by partnering with Children International, a leading child sponsorship organization. Phelan's passion grows with each successive project as he sees the change in the lives of the people impacted.

Dan Phelan points to the well and filtration system that changed lives in Manolito.

Phelan's first water project was in a small community named Manolito, a batey in the Dominican Republic. Bateys are small villages which were intended to be temporary places to accommodate sugar cane cutters from the sister country of Haiti during the harvest, but since have become permanent residences. These areas lack infrastructure for individual houses, and most of the dwellings have dirt floors and flimsy walls and roofs. Since restrooms are lacking in the bateys, residents are forced to use open fields.

Phelan was joined by fellow Atlanta residents Beth and Frank Southers in funding the project. The team began with the goal of building four latrines in Manolito, but during the process discovered an old well that was not functioning. Drilling a new borehole enabled the well to be rehabilitated, bringing treated water to the community. The outstanding result was more than the group had imagined. Children in the village were very sick before the water project, and villagers told Phelan that they now have "no intestinal problems." He began with the goal of building latrines, and ended up understanding what it meant to change children's lives.

Walking long distances for water is hard work.

Phelan did not stop with Manolito, however. He soon turned to Mi Progreso, a community where people were walking the long distance of four kilometers just for clean water. Phelan joined forces with other Children International supporters, Larry Phelan and Ron Neal, as well as the Dunwoody Community Church of Dunwoody, Georgia, and the Advent Lutheran Church of Kansas City, Missouri, to help this community. Together the group transformed the Mi Progreso area by building four compost latrines with showers, a well that required a 55-foot borehole, and a water treatment facility that serves approximately 500 people. The dry ecological latrines, a sustainable solution to human waste management as described by the Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy, each have a proud captain who keeps their latrine clean.

Phelan emphasizes, "This is the beginning. Children International and I have more projects in the works, and I now know from experience what an enormous difference they will make. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to help in such a meaningful way."

A latrine captain takes pride in her responsibilities.

"Dan Phelan's drive and dedication to provide safe water and sanitation facilities is changing lives. And his enthusiasm is contagious as he involves others who are sharing the experience," says Franklin Guerrero, Children International's Vice President of Development and Advancement and Regional Director of the Dominican Republic. He continues, "This is a good example of generosity and cooperation making a real difference for a poor community."

See more information about Children International's water and sanitation projects.

Make a donation toward water and sanitation projects for an impoverished community.

To help a child living in poverty, visit

Established in 1936, Children International is an award-winning humanitarian organization with its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. The organization has been recognized by Forbes magazine and Consumers Digest as a leading charity. Children International’s programs benefit approximately 340,000 children and their families in 11 countries around the world, including Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, the Philippines, the United States and Zambia.

For more information about Children International or to sponsor a child, visit

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