Kumpi Mayu Foundation draws inspiration from Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmental and political activist who founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. In 2004 she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari weaves a story of hope that is inspired by the tiny hummingbird who works tirelessly on behalf of all creatures.
One day, a huge forest was consumed by fire. All of the animals raced out of the forest. As they ran, they became transfixed by the burning forest and felt very overwhelmed and powerless - all except for the little humming bird. And the little humming bird said, "I am going to do something about this fire." So the humming bird flew to the nearest stream and took up one drop of water and put it on the fire. Then, quick as a wink, returned to the stream - going back and forth and back and forth as fast as she could.
In the mean time all the other animals, much bigger animals, like the elephant with a big trunk that could take so much more water - were standing their helpless and saying to the humming bird, "What do you think you can do, you are too little, this fire is too big, your wings are too little…and your beak is so small you can only bring a small drop of water at a time?"
But as they continued to discourage the little humming bird, it turned to them, without wasting any time, and told them – I am doing the best that I can.
Dean Rutherford graduated from the University of Notre Dame and then went on to do a graduate studies program at the University Catolica in Santiago, Chile in 1975. For three years he studied while volunteering in the city's soup kitchens during a time when there was 60% unemployment. Living through these tumultuous times bonded his heart forever to the people and struggles of Latin America. When Dean returned to the United States, he married Martha and started a company as a General Contractor building a business that thrived for 36 years. On one of their many trips to Peru, the elders of a community outside Cusco asked them to help solve the debilitating health problems afflicting the village due to contaminated water. Dean began to research the myriad issues surrounding water purification and filtration. His quest for insights into the subject of water and public health led him to take a class at U.C. Berkeley with Dr. John Dracup. Combining his creative talents as an inventor with his first hand knowledge of Latin America and indigenous communities, Dean resolved to fashion a tool to combat the public health related issues associated with contaminated water. After three years of work, the powerful and practical Condor Filter was born, a portable, high efficiency purification system that does not rely on either electricity or gravity.
Dr. Martha Rutherford has spent the last 30 years as a bilingual educator for elementary schools through advanced graduate programs. Throughout her career, Martha has provided academically rigorous educational opportunities for high-poverty, traditionally marginalized youth. She has fostered professional development opportunities for teachers throughout the United States, Australia, South America, and Europe. Martha has served as a key collaborator in the development of two nationally recognized science and literacy curricula. Martha’s passion is to educate and mobilize young people to start a revolution demanding that all people everywhere have access to clean, safe water. In recent years, she has developed a straight-forward curriculum that instructs young people how to test water quality and safety, maintain their water purification systems, and monitor water use. As the initiative progresses, results of the students’ findings will be posted on the Kumpi Mayu Foundation website, and sent to the World Health Organization. Her dream is to bring scores of young people to the United Nations, where they will make the case that the world wide water crisis needs the support of every person in each and every country in order to provide clean, safe water for all.