Fredrik Rozen and his eighteen year old son, Anton, are not your typical Swedish father and son. As the Vice President of a large and growing window supply company in Sweden, Fredrik has enough on his plate to keep him busy. And as a star athlete and budding internet entrepreneur, his son Anton has every reason to remain caught up in the daily lifestyle of your average Swedish teenager. But for this father and son, “normal” was not enough.
“It all began at our kitchen table,” states Anton. “I wanted to do something from my heart – something I would remember for a lifetime.” Fredrik, already having traveled to Africa with his company, began discussing with his son how the two of them might make a difference in some of the most challenging regions of the world.
Familiar with the work of IAS, and recognizing the need for clean drinking water throughout Africa, father and son created a website to raise funds in order to drill a well with IAS. The goal was to raise 75,000 Swedish Krona ($11,500). Through Anton’s hockey league and social network, news of the project began to make its way through the community. “We could have chosen an easier path to raise the funds,” states Anton. “But we wanted the project to live on for years to come. So we chose to approach the community at large, and not just our family and friends.”
After raising approximately half of the funds needed for the well, momentum for the campaign seemed to falter. Fredrik felt it would be helpful for Anton to visit Africa to see the need firsthand – not only to help him gain a renewed vision and passion for the project, but also to bring back photographs and stories to help better market their project. Little did they know the adventure waiting for them in Ethiopia.
“Have I not wept for those in trouble?
HAS NOT MY SOUL GRIEVED FOR THE POOR?”
Traveling together with IAS staff to one of the most remote regions of Ethiopia, Fredrik and Anton experienced challenges even seasoned travelers rarely encounter.
“It was worth the two weeks of stomach flu. The way the villagers reacted when the water sprayed up from the ground from the new IAS well was unforgettable,” says Anton, as his father nods and smiles.
While experiencing the joy of helping Ethiopians, both Fredrick and Anton realized very quickly that their trip was by no means a vacation. Sleeping in harsh environments, involved in a fatal car accident, and being
mugged in Ethiopia’s capital city were just some of the events that convinced them that aid work is serious business.
Fredrik’s goal of helping Anton acquire a renewed vision and passion for the project was realized. “We are now working on converting our web page to English,” says Anton. “Next year we’d like to drill a well in Sudan, Kenya, or Uganda. We hope to drill a new well every year. Everyone can make a difference.”