Circus founder launches water charity

The founder of Cirque du Soleil has set up a charitable foundation that aims to give everyone in the world access to clean water.

Officially launching the ONE DROP Foundation on Monday, Guy Laliberté announced that he would provide $100m of funding over 25 years to cover the operating costs.

Other funding is expected to come from donations from Cirque du Soleil employees, the public and international partners including the RBC Financial Group, which has committed $10m over the next 10 years.

Mr Laliberté plans to use circus arts, popular theatre, and other visual arts to promote education, community involvement and public awareness of water issues, while funding technical projects to improve access to water, ensure food security and promote gender equality in developing countries.

The 48-year-old Canadian said: "No-one can remain indifferent when we know that at least every eight seconds, a child dies from a disease caused by drinking contaminated water.

"With the creation of ONE DROP, we want to mobilise people everywhere in the world to find sustainable solutions to the problem of access to water, and to adopt better practices for the use of this precious resource."

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has become the first international organisation to sign a collaboration agreement with ONE DROP, which is based in Montreal, in Canada.

Prince Albert said: "Water issues transcend the boundaries of countries and affect the whole of humanity.

"This is a major challenge of this century and it is essential that organisations throughout the world come together in a global movement of solidarity to ensure the preservation and better management of a resource that is both irreplaceable and fundamental to life."

More than a billion people do not have access to water in sufficient quantity or adequate quality. Almost half of the world's population drinks untreated water.

Kate Martin



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