Nermine Khouzam Rubin: Repairing the world with Water 4 Mercy

The 10 Most Admired Women Leaders in Business, 2021

Having a passion for saving the world, Nermine Khouzam Rubin, Founder and CEO of Water 4 Mercy, is aiming to end thirst, hunger, and poverty around the world.

She states, “My goal is to empower all of Africa and beyond, every area that is subjected to drought-induced poverty.  Working together, we can break the cycle of poverty and implement sustainable systems that will produce instant and long-term success. That is Water 4 Mercy.”

Ladder to success

Being emigrated to the US and witnessing a bombing at the age of 6, Nermine grew a spark to tunnel through all the obstacles in her soul and mind. From a very young age, she had a solid determination to become the best in every vertical of her life, and to help others who are in need.

She states, “When I was 8, my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him I wanted to be the queen of the world. “Why queen?”  “Because I want to help save the world. If I were queen, then I could help.”

At age 21 she completed her Bachelor of Science degree with dual majors in Psychology and Chemistry from the University of Florida, and went on to get her MHS, Master of Health Science (Hospital Administration) from the same university.

In 1986, she earned her MBA degree from UF’s Warrington College of Business and stepped into the corporate world in Strategic Planning & Marketing with Bayfront Medical Center.  Nermine gained valuable experience as she worked in various roles. She expanded her skill set and vision as she progressed through her professional career.

She adds, “I worked in Hospital Administration within Facilities Planning, building and designing hospitals, and also consulting within healthcare information management and adjudication systems. This training is partly responsible for my “big picture” view of solving a problem, not just parts of it. The consultant work trained me in collaboration and strategic teamwork. I also consulted with organizations to become financially successful.”

In 2017 when her teenage daughter Samantha was invited to Dodoma, Tanzania for mentoring the students there, Nermine accompanied her and witnessed the poverty of the families due to a recent devastating drought. She expresses, “I got to experience up close the suffering lives upended by famine.  The villagers had no work, no food, and had lost all sense of hope. I tried to figure out how to offer another kind of work training program, perhaps a different kind of job would restore the villagers, but the problem was not their job skill, they are farmers, the problem was water. That meant wells – utility stuff – a government problem, not anything I could help with.”  Or so she thought.

Having a heavy heart, she returned back home. She happened to get the book ‘Let There Be Water’ by Seth Siegel, where she learned of Innovation Africa (IA) an Israeli NGO with world renowned expertise in solar, water and agriculture. She states, “I read about IA’s revolutionary remote live monitoring system to ensure that each village is 100% successful – forever! Then lightning struck:  I could partner with Innovation Africa to implement and maintain our water projects. I would contribute my personal funds and make it my mission to raise funds so we can implement cutting-edge technology for well digging and have ‘boots on the ground’ project support through IA and their monitoring systems. I could get water to Dodoma and rebuild the lives of the villagers there! Boom! Water 4 Mercy was born!”

Revamping water technologies space Water 4 Mercy

Water 4 Mercy is the progression of a dream. It began with trying to provide water to a single drought-stricken African village, but it exploded into a system of sustainability that begins with fresh water that is then transformed into fresh food, fresh marketing opportunities, new agricultural systems, innovative educational opportunities, and boom! The vicious cycle of poverty is quickly transformed into bountiful Cycles of Success!

She adds, “My goal is simple – having the locals themselves to be proudly independent through the sustainable system that is being implemented, giving them the ability to fend for themselves, to succeed. The problem will be solved by their own dedication to sustain and adopt what is being set in place, and this is already being eagerly done.  I want to empower each person, so that we eventually work ourselves out of a job, one that will hopefully cease to exist.”

Nermine wants the world to see that Water 4 Mercy’s permanent solution will truly eradicate thirst, hunger, and poverty. With enough support and funding for their projects they will prove to the world that Africa can be self-sustaining- and very QUICKLY! The aim is utilizing the added-value of Israeli technologies and expertise, adapted to unique circumstances in Africa to positively impact many people’s lives. Israel’s advanced solar, water and agricultural innovations have proven to make the desert bloom. Bringing that know-how to Africa is extremely fruitful and leads to economic prosperity.

Life as Founder and CEO of the company

Nermine founded Water 4 Mercy as a response to the suffering she witnessed while assisting her daughter on several trips to volunteer in various missions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

She believes that compassion, boldness, and resourcefulness are the three strongholds of her life with which she can overcome any obstacle. Having a passion for upholding human dignity for each and every person of God keeps her pumped. She makes time for herself to keep her mind and soul energized for the upcoming challenges.

She expresses, “My desires are greater than what you could imagine. Have I saved the world yet?  I want to touch each heart so that every person can find out what it is that is going to set them on fire so they can go out and do the same. I want to be a light of the world, a flame. I want to inspire people that if they follow their own heart, that they can spark others and be lights of the world.”

Future roadmap of the company

Nermine states, “I will be working hard to bring in multi-organizations together for the common cause of liberating Africa from poverty to instead be on the road to economic prosperity.  The plan is to raise worldwide awareness to gain support and receive enough funds to scale up AITeC, Agricultural Innovation and Technology Center – so that Africa is on the road to self-sustainability within 3-5 years”. The intent of AITeC is permanent self-sustainability throughout Africa by ‘Teaching the Teachers to Teach’ and bringing desert-tested Israeli solar, water and agricultural knowledge and training via the largest Catholic skills training school in the world. What we are doing is absolutely revolutionary and the much-needed FULCRUM of CHANGE for Africa’s agriculture to be built on a new and solid foundation.

“The plan is to encompass multiple faiths in various initiatives, all working for one goal, the dignity of the person reduced to poverty for lack of water, food and hope. I intend to touch every heart I can, to encompass a variety of organizations and religions.”  It’s bringing together the whole human family with one goal in mind – the focus of human dignity – spreading our cause throughout the world – clean water, food and hope is a right for every person!

After this, Water 4 Mercy will venture to ‘and beyond’ for other underserved areas of the world.

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