GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A nonprofit organization in Grandville has helped more than 200,00 people in Rwanda get access to clean drinking water.

20 Liters works with World Relief Rwanda to send water filtration systems to Rwanda. 

The organization was inspired by an eight-year-old from Zeeland. Sixteen years ago, Greta Zwyghuizen saw that kids her age in Rwanda were unable to go to school and instead had to bring water back from wells and bodies of water. 

“She decided that’s not fair and that we should do something about it,” Melanie Zwyghuizen, Greta’s mother, said.

They started doing annual walks where they raised money to help those in Rwanda, and then they joined 20 Liters. 

The organization was able to figure out how to make a filtration system that allows people to have it in their homes. The family filter lasts for 10 years. 

“It cleans out 99.9% of the bacteria, so it’s making sick people healthy again,” said David VanOpstall, executive director of 20 Liters.

There are three unique filters that the organization sends — one for families, one for villages and one that goes in roof gutters.

The family filter costs around $100 to make and ship and it is made up of two buckets. The first containers hold the dirty water, which is filtered through rocks and sand. Clean water then goes into the second bucket and is filtered through the spout.

VanOpstall said many serious problems can occur if people do not have access to clean drinking water, including disease and possibly death. 

“Around 300,000 children die a year just because they don’t have clean drinking water. And it’s something that we obviously in this area, especially in Michigan, pretty much take for granted,” VanOpstall said. 

He added that once the filters are shipped, the nonprofit’s work doesn’t end. Volunteers in Rwanda work with the families to set up the filters and stay in contact to make sure everything works.

“The families have to go through 20 hours of training, both in how to use the system, how to put it together and then good sanitation and hygiene practices,” VanOpstall said. 

They have sent more than 10,000 filters to Rwanda and are working to send more. 

“The best result possible is that everyone would have clean water. And we won’t stop until they do,” Zwyghuizen said. 

20 Liters is run by donations and fundraisers. For more information on how you can help, visit the 20 Liters website