One of the most unusual Big Give proposals came from Kathleen Alves (above, back row, second from left, with residents of Madan, Papua New Guinea) of Chehalis, Washington. A registered nurse practitioner, Alves travels regularly to Madan, an impoverished farming community in Papua New Guinea, to treat children and adults who have been sickened by water-borne illnesses and other ailments. Alves estimated that one Big Give grant would cover the cost of constructing two wells; entrepreneur Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway) advised on engineering details, and the project broke ground last spring. The result: Madan's estimated 8,000 residents now have access to clean water. "This felt so good that I want to do more," says Alves, who will return to Madan next year to begin implementing a latrine system, HIV testing, and other health improvements. "Once you start, it's addictive."
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