Senior engineer by day. Humanitarian always.
Last Updated: 10/1/2015
By day, George Hanson is a senior engineer in Environmental Utilities and currently serving as project manager on a multimillion dollar expansion of the Pleasant Grove Waste Water Treatment plant.
But, what you might not know is George is also a founder and current board chair for a non-profit organization aimed to provide sustainable solutions for his home country, Ghana. This is something that he wanted to do after he taught mathematics at a rural school in Suma Ahenkro, Ghana. There he witnessed firsthand the deplorable living conditions that were considered commonplace to the people that lived in these villages.
So in 2005, he and his wife Jean have made it their goal to improve education, health care and drinking water for impoverished communities; focused in villages and towns in rural Ghana. Their passion turned into action by starting a non-profit aimed to fight poverty.
“We take for granted the three important things that help sustain a healthy, thriving life: access to medical care, drinking water and education,” George said. “It is my duty to help create sustainable solutions for these communities where we work in rural Ghana, so that we can reduce and fight poverty and provide the fundamental things that people need to survive.”
To give some perspective, rural communities in Ghana live on an average household income of up to two dollars a day. The lack of income, investment and infrastructure has translated into reduced access to clean drinking water, inadequate school facilities to teach youth, lack of medical care facilities to help those in need, and low mortality.
“Ten years ago, my wife and I were compelled to do something about this. We began raising money, meeting with different groups in some of the rural Ghanaian communities—leaders, chiefs, educators, and medical directors—and partnering with organizations to develop programs that would help some of these deprived areas of the Ghanaian populace,” George mentions. “As important to providing a hand is also creating a program that the community can continue to support.”
In the 10 years since its inception, George and his team have been able to raise money and develop partnerships that have made a lasting difference. For example, solar panels have been placed on top of buildings to provide electricity, classrooms have been built, operating rooms have been furnished with equipment, hospitals and health centers have been provided with basic medical equipment (incubators, medications, EKG machines, mosquito nets, etc.) that have saved many lives already.
Efforts are underway to expand hospital facilities with a new operating room and create drinking water sources with new wells and distribution systems to delivery potable water.
“My ultimate goal is to continue to fight poverty by working with these communities, creating solutions, which empower these villages to improve their quality of life. It’s a lot of work, but it’s something that I am passionate about, so we keep forging ahead, one community at a time.”