Defiant Missions: Changing Lives in Need

By Wood, Keith | The World and I, October 2010 | Go to article overview

Defiant Missions: Changing Lives in Need


Wood, Keith, The World and I


In a world where everyone wants to make a difference, but most continue to talk about what needs to happen without any action or initiative, there stands Defiant Missions.

With their own dreams, and the dreams of the strangers they selflessly serve, upon their shoulders, Stephen Dupuis and Matt Turner co-founded this 501(c)3 non-profit organization, because, as Stephen firmly believes, "if its worth talking about, its worth doing." In just a year and a half, they have created measurable change in some of the most neglected regions of the world, including Ecuador, Ghana, and Haiti.

Their most notable program underneath Defiant Missions is Defy Thirst, which seeks to provide drinkable water to impoverished communities. This involves the daunting operation of installing water purification systems. "The technology is out there," Stephen states. "You have UV light filters, carbon activated filters, and others that people push, but in a lot of situations you can't, for example, just use UV light filters.

"Our thing is to find out what's in the water, where is it going, and what are the changes in the water during the year. We can go from there to find out what system needs to be use." Working out of their garage, Matt and Stephen managed to forge original water purification systems to meet the specific needs of each community.

In some cases an already manufactured product may be the most cost effective rout for the community they are working in. In Haiti, Defy Thirst installed home use gravitational filters, manufactured by Sawyer, that can filter a gallon of water a minute and up to one million gallons. Can you imagine what one million gallons of water means to these places that presumably has never had even one gallon of purified water? It's unfathomable.

Clean, drinkable water is certainly a priority, but once Defy Thirst has supplied this, their efforts do not end. Defiant Missions looks to create long lasting relationships in the communities they work in. Matt and Stephen believe strongly that by changing the thought process found within these communities, real sustainable change can occur, and the only way to change their way of thought is to change the way help is provided.

"The goal is to bring them out of poverty," Stephen proclaims. "When I was in Haiti it was really hard not to just give when a child asked for a dollar, food, or clothes. If you do that, like a lot of non-profits that just give, and giving is good in some situations, it can make them dependent."

"Ownership has to be involved," he adds. "If you bring 10 people over and dig a well, with nobody's help from the community, there is no pride or ownership, so they won't feel inclined to keep care of it. …

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