When the feeling of thirst strikes, what do you do to get water?
The answer is different, depending on where a person lives.
The truth is that while many people have access to fresh, clean drinking water through a tap, there are still millions of people around the world that don’t.
“There are about 2.1 million people in the world who have to walk about six kilometres a day—sometimes more, sometimes less—to access water from a river or a pond and it’s not usually fresh or clean,” says Laura Bailey, a teacher at Niagara Christian Collegiate (NCC).
“About 90 per cent of water collectors are women and children and they have to carry buckets of water that are about three to five gallons each.”
It’s something NCC’s geography students in Grades 9 and 12 have been thinking a lot about over the course of the last week and a half.
About 31 students were tasked with researching water conservation, how it arrives to homes, businesses, schools and other community locations via infrastructure, as well as global issues impacting clean and safe drinking water.
After researching the issues, the students came up with the idea to create an awareness campaign.
On Wednesday, just before lunch, the NCC students held a five-kilometre-water walk on campus to understand the struggles facing individuals without access to safe, drinkable water.
They created informational posters, and students carried buckets with about three gallons of water each as they walked.
The burden certainly weighed heavy on the students, including Praise Mafusire.
“These buckets are really heavy. I’m definitely grateful (that I can get drinking water from the tap),” she said.
Brooke Learn, who helped Mafusire carry a bucket of water, said she will never take clean water for granted.
“I couldn’t imagine walking such a long way to provide clean drinking water for my family.”
Bailey said the project was completely driven by the students and it is one example of NCC’s commitment to push students’ learning beyond the classroom “and getting them to drive their own learning.”
“The students had to come up with their own ideas, they created their own posters and the walk was organized by the students. They even created their own rubric with criteria for marking,” she said.
The NCC students also raised about $100 from a basketball tournament and have an on-going spare change campaign. The money raised from both initiatives will be used to purchase water filtration systems and other supplies for countries in need that are currently being supported by World Vision’s Clean Water program.