Catherine Keck and an Ugandan child with their donated mosquito nets.

EDWARDSVILLE - For as long as she can remember, Catherine Keck has always had the desire to help those who are less fortunate around the globe.

After searching far and wide for an organization that would bring services like providing fresh water, access to education and more in places like Africa, her search came up short.

That was until her husband stated that she could create her own organization. From there, Project Restore was born.

Since its incorporation in 2008, Project Restore has helped revitalize communities in Uganda, Africa by building and repairing wells for access to fresh water, enhancing the local heath care systems and much more.

“The entire process is based around sustainability,” Keck, the Founder and Executive Director of Project Restore said. “The concepts of ‘teach a man to fish’ really made sense to me and I thought we could help these communities work to become sustainable.”

Seeking help from professors and researchers from Washington University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and beyond, not only is the organization doing good for simply the sake of making the world a better place. In fact, they are using some of the most researched and sound methods of making sure these processes will remain sustainable for years down the road.

Catherine Keck helping a child fill a container with fresh water in Uganda. The small Glen Carbon-based organization is non-profit organization that is entirely run by its governing board and with the help of volunteers.

“All of the money raised goes directly to the cause,” Keck said. “We wanted to do it for the good of the human race and maximize our contributions as much as we can.”

Through giving communities access to clean water by repairing 15 wells and building five new sources, teaching proper sanitation techniques, educating the youth in the community and supplementing needed healthcare items, Project Restore allows the communities in Uganda to walk on their own feet and keep moving forward.

“It’s a joint effort between us and the community to ensure that the projects can be sustained even after we’ve left,” she said.

In most underdeveloped countries around the world, education seems to fall by the wayside as young boys and girls almost always head to work to help support their own family; that is, if they haven’t been orphaned due to disease or conflict.

Project Restore has aided in the sponsorship of students who typically do not receive an education past the sixth grade.

“Through receiving this education past the sixth grade, children will have opportunities for better jobs down the road,” she said.

Teachers and mentors are brought to Uganda to help assist these children in need of a variety of subjects. With the help of Ugandan professors from the city, they work together to create curriculums and build the best education for their students.

Between 4 and 10 p.m. on March 15, 15-percent of all sales at Social Gastropub in Edwardsville will go directly to helping Project Restore take on its numerous projects in Africa.

“It’s a great opportunity for folks to come out, get some great food and support a good cause.”

Musicians Lanny and Julie will also be performing at the Social Gastropub that evening, donating their time and talent to support all what Project Restore accomplishes.

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To contact Madelaine Gerard, contact madelaine@riverbender.com or call 618-465-9850 at ext. 235.

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