December 11, 2017
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  • Sanders Diamond Jewelers is planning to raise at least $12,000 to fund dry sanitation toilet systems for Bilton High School in the South African province of Mpumalanga.
    Photo Provided
    Sanders Diamond Jewelers is planning to raise at least $12,000 to fund dry sanitation toilet systems for Bilton High School in the South African province of Mpumalanga.
  • Sanders Diamond Jewelers is planning to raise at least $12,000 to fund dry sanitation toilet systems for Bilton High School in the South African province of Mpumalanga.
    Photo Provided
    Sanders Diamond Jewelers is planning to raise at least $12,000 to fund dry sanitation toilet systems for Bilton High School in the South African province of Mpumalanga.
  • To raise the funds for Enviro Loos, Sanders Diamond Jewelers is raffling off a Hearts on Fire one-carat pendant necklace worth $6,900.
    Photo Provided
    To raise the funds for Enviro Loos, Sanders Diamond Jewelers is raffling off a Hearts on Fire one-carat pendant necklace worth $6,900.

Community Contributors: Sanders Diamond Jewelers Holds Raffle To Fund Enviro Loos In Africa

Zach Sparks
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December 5, 2017

As a Rotarian for 23 years and a two-time president of the Lake Shore-Severna Park Rotary Club, Larry Sanders has witnessed a great lack of basic resources for people both at home and abroad. Yet not many needs have trumped those of the people in South Africa.

According to the Africa Foundation — a nonprofit that seeks to uplift, up-skill and empower identified rural communities near core conservation areas — 43 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa drink unsafe drinking water. One in five dies before their fifth birthday.

Sanders has trekked to Africa every nine to 12 months for the last 20 years and sees similarly worrisome conditions. Bilton High School in the South African province of Mpumalanga, for example, has just 10 toilets to service more than 600 students and faculty members.

“They took us into areas whether it was Enviro Loos or other school needs in the communities,” Sanders recalled. “We got to see preschools and they were like little metal shacks. The kitchen was a pot hanging over an open flame.”

Clean water and proper sanitary conditions help prevent a host of diseases for both humans and livestock. Because water is scarce, Africa Foundation has turned to an alternative, Enviro Loos, which are waterless, dry sanitation toilet systems.

“They’re self-composting, so they can use what comes out of the back end for fertilizer,” Sanders explained. “The people there don’t waste anything.”

The cost of building a block of five Enviro Loos is 160,000 rand, which, as of December 2017, equates to nearly $12,000.

The owner of Sanders Diamond Jewelers in Pasadena, Sanders decided to help. First, he went to the Lake Shore-Severna Park Rotary Club. When it became clear that the process of garnering international grants and filing paperwork was going to be a lengthy one, Sanders brainstormed another way to help. “They need this now, not one year from now,” Sanders insisted.

Through his business, Sanders was able to generate a fundraiser. The Pasadena store is raffling off a Hearts on Fire one-carat pendant necklace worth $6,900. Sanders is selling 250 tickets. For $50, each person will have a one-in-250 shot to win the coveted piece of jewelry. Siri, the virtual personal assistant created by Apple, will draw the winning number at random during a live Facebook drawing on December 18.

From now until New Year’s Eve, Sanders is also donating 5 percent of all diamond and diamond jewelry sales to Africa Foundation.

With the two fundraising efforts combined, Sanders hopes to raise more than $12,500 for the Enviro Loos — good news that he would like to share when he returns to Africa around Valentine’s Day.

It would make a big difference for the people there, Sanders explained.

“When you first see these kids, they want to learn and they want to be something,” Sanders said. “Every time you ask them what they want to be, they say ‘doctor’ or ‘lawyer.’ … It’s gratifying to see how the high school has bloomed.”

Even though he did not work with Rotary on this effort, Sanders still praised the work the organization has done. He pointed to the dictionary project, which benefits kids both in public and private schools, and a partnership with the Rotary International Foundation that funded a human-powered bush pump water-drilling system in the Diolia region of Mali. The water is not only used for sanitary purposes but also for watering community gardens that produce food.

“This thing is totally mobile,” Sanders said of the drill. “It doesn’t use gas, electrical, nothing.”

While many people in Pasadena are finalizing their holiday shopping, now’s a good time to consider the less fortunate. To enter the raffle, stop by Sanders Diamond Jewelers, located in the Pastore’s Plaza shopping center at 3820-A Mountain Road. Contributions to Africa Foundation are tax-deductible. For more information about the nonprofit, visit www.africafoundation.org.

“All of our diamonds, emeralds, rubies and more — it all comes from Africa,” Sanders said. “So it makes sense to give back to the area.” Then, referring to Rotary, he said, “There are still a lot of good people in this world. And our club is always looking for people to give service above self.”


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