Water of Life Project: Truro, Nova Scotia


No individual or organization has a longer, more consistent history of supporting Lifewater Canada, and therefore the people of Africa and Haiti who desperately need safe water, than a small group of very dedicated fundraisers in Truro, Nova Scotia.


They are collectively known as the Water of Life Project. In June 2024, they celebrated 20 years of giving to Lifewater Canada. During that time, the group has fully or partially funded 63 water projects in Africa and Haiti. The projects are benefiting an estimated 50,000 children and adults, some of whom would have undoubtedly died without Water of Life’s help.


It was back in September of 2003 that Placide Chiasson was watching a television program about the challenges of trying to stay alive without access to safe water.


Placide Chiasson.JPEG 353 KB“I asked in prayer what I could do to help,” the retired teacher recalled recently. “I believe His Holy Spirit inspired me. My wife and I met our parish minister to discuss how to proceed. We scheduled a meeting with interested individuals from different denominations, resulting in the formation of a committee to move forward.”


Then they began investigating charitable organizations involved in drilling and repairing wells.

“Ina Major, who was our treasurer for 18 years, searched the internet and Lifewater Canada really stood out,” Placide said.


“It was a Canadian volunteer-based organization, and the percentage of funds raised that were directly used to provide water, education, and sanitation was very high. They partnered with the communities in the truest sense. They were transparent with the use of funds. They seemed to genuinely care for those in need and wanted to help them help themselves.”


The first Lifewater project that Water of Life helped to fund was a new well in Liberia in 2004. Since then, Water of Life has been involved in drilling 46 more wells, rehabilitating six broken-wells (including replacing failed hand pumps), repairing another seven pumps, installing a rainwater harvesting and storage system, plus two purchases of some vital drilling equipment.


How does Water of Life raise so much money – and achieve so much impact?


“We work with churches, schools and organizations,” Placide explained. “Each year, we contact our partners and other possible (fundraising) groups to inform them of what was accomplished the previous year.”


Water of Life passes along copies of project-completion certificates – plus photos and thank-you letters from the benefiting communities in Africa or Haiti – that Lifewater has provided.  


“The certificates are in display on their walls,” Placide said. “We are in constant contact during the year when various fundraisers are done in support of the Water of Life Project.”


Placide is one of several volunteers who also make presentations in area schools, churches, and other settings to introduce Nova Scotians to the water challenges millions of people face in Africa and Haiti, and the role Lifewater Canada is playing in saving lives.


To raise money, schools and churches and individuals have sold bottled water, organized bake sales, craft sales, dances, plays, and other activities. In June of 2024, to celebrate 20 years of giving, Water of Life Project organized another round of activities including a walk-a-thon. All-told, these activities generated an additional $4,235 for Lifewater and our safe-water mission.


One of the walk-a-thon participants was Beckie Burrows from Old Barns United Church that has been supporting Water of Life Project for several years.


“We know we’re making a difference and that means a lot,” Beckie told The Casket, the region’s online newspaper. “We see pictures of what is done with the money we help raise.”


In looking back over the last two decades, Placide says one of the highlights was when Lifewater Canada co-founder Jim Gehrels and his wife Lynda visited Truro to thank Water of Life for its persistent, sacrificial efforts to ease the plight of thirsty Africans and Haitians.


“They visited the elementary schools and high schools. We had lunch with them. Everyone was encouraged and motivated by their honest, heartfelt, transparent presentations.”


Jim Gehrels died in 2020, 23 years after establishing Lifewater. By then, with help from Water of Life and many other supporters, the charity had completed about 5,000 water projects. In the four years since then, with Lynda Gehrels as president, Lifewater has completed 11,000 more.


Are the people at Water of Life Project growing tired of raising money for Lifewater? No, Placide said.


“Every day and every year that we come in contact with our regular partners and are introduced to new helpers is a highlight. These people want to be informed and take action to make a difference for people in Africa and Haiti who are in need of safe and accessible water. We want to thank Lifewater Canada for enabling us to partner with them in this life-saving work.”


And we, in turn, deeply thank Water of Life and its amazing group of dedicated volunteers.


Every $1 you give provides a child with safe water for a year!






457 Heather Crescent
Thunder Bay, ON P7E 5L1
+1 807-622-4848

Facebook Logo    Camera Glyph Icon

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.