In April, seventh grade students at Cayman International School read “A Long Walk to the Water,” which is a true story set in Sudan.
The book’s main characters have to deal with several difficult conditions: war, poverty, a lack of clean drinking water and no access to education. One of the main characters, named Salva, has to walk for years to escape the Sudanese war, and Nya — the other main character — has to walk miles every day just to get clean drinking water. At the end of the story, the two characters meet after they have been freed from their hardships, and their stories beautifully intertwine.
After escaping the Sudanese war to live in the United States, Salva thought that it was unjust that he had easy access to clean water, while people in his home country were compromising their health by drinking contaminated water. Salva wanted to do something to give back to people in Sudan, so he started a charity called Water for South Sudan.
Water for South Sudan is a non-profit organisation that builds wells in rural villages. The building of wells not only provides clean, easily accessible water to Sudanese people, but it also provides girls who previously walked to get water with time to attend school.
Seventh grade CIS students thought this charity was an important one to support.
On June 6, seventh-grade students hosted a charity walk and bake sale to support the Water for South Sudan foundation. The walk took place around the perimeter of the school campus from 2:15-3:15. Students who participated in the walk solicited monetary pledges per lap completed. They wore paper bibs, and when they completed a lap, their bib was hole punched to record the number of laps completed. Students then took home the bibs and collected donations.
Students who didn’t walk laps managed the event. They were in charge of selling bake-sale goods, hole punching the bibs, spreading awareness and hanging posters to promote the charity walk. A majority of the students who managed the event brought in donations.
Overall, seventh grade students raised approximately US$1,700 for the charity. About 90 per cent of the money was raised through the walk, with the balance made by selling baked goods. Many of the participants said it felt amazing knowing that hosting something as simple as a walk can significantly impact the lives of others, protecting them from waterborne illnesses, giving girls the time to receive an education and providing clean and easily accessible water to Sudanese people.
To donate to Water for South Sudan, visit www.waterforsouthsudan.org.
Ellie Nickason is a 12-year-old student who just completed Grade 7 at Cayman International School.