Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School third grader Matthew McAllister tries to pick up a 44 lb. water jerry can.On October 7, two representatives from the Thirst Project visited Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School to talk about the global water crisis and the group’s work building fresh water wells in African countries, India, and other countries.

Last school year, three then 6th graders, Grace Steffan, Catherine Terrell and Gia Virgilio, organized a fundraiser, selling bracelets and raising awareness about the water crisis and the work of the Thirst Project. The 6th graders sold bracelets at school, in the lunchroom and at sports events, raising more than $1300 for the Thirst Project.

Thirst Project Interns and “Road Warriors” Drew Penkala and Haley Thompson told the students about the work of the Thirst Project, which was founded in 2008 and is based in Los Angeles. The group has built 1800 wells that serve 300,000 people, according to Penkala and Thompson. They told of how local contractors drill and pump water from underground water sources. They talked about how in some countries, people do not have clean running water and must walk 3 to 4 miles to fetch water for their families. To demonstrate, the interns had a large jerry can filled with water that weighs 44 lbs. They asked one student to carry it about 20 steps, and he agreed that carrying the water jug was heavy and hard work.

The Thirst Project representative thanked the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School students for supporting their work, and said that that the money raised went towards building wells in Swaziland. According to the Thirst Project website, the group’s goal is to build enough fresh water wells so that the entire African country of Swaziland has clean drinking water by the year 2022. The Thirst Project also sponsors well-building projects in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, El Salvador and Colombia.

Thirst Project Interns Penkala and Thompson are on a cross-country trip visiting schools that have supported the Thirst Project. After their visit to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School, next on their itinerary are schools in the states of Maryland, West Virginia and New York.

The Waynedale News Staff
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