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Student-run organizations fundraise for African Villages

Matt Berk, Web Manager

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On June 3, students and adults from the Laguna Beach community will be walking for water, just as the indigenous women of Africa do daily to provide water for their villages. In 2016, the LBHS club Walking for Water was created in order to build wells in rural, impoverished villages so that women will no longer be forced to walk up to 20 miles carrying heavy water on their heads to provide water for their villages.
“To me, the club is a great opportunity to save people’s lives and give back to people outside our community,” said walking for water club member and LBHS junior, Gaal Shonfeld.
During the annual walk for water on June 3, anybody can arrive from 12:00- 3:00 for a morning of fun on the high school track. All of the entry fees for the event will go towards building more wells in Africa so that more lives are saved. For every $10,000 raised, one well can be built, and that well will save 1,000 lives by supplying accessible and clean water. Last year, the club raised $24,000 and was able to build two wells in Africa, which saved over 2,000 lives.
“People should come to our event in order to help us raise money to build these wells. We will have games, food, music and merchandise for sale, which will all be donated to the cause!” said Walking for Water club president Emma Russell.
A big contributor to the success of the club is their partnership with the nonprofit organization Wisdom Springs. It all started through the founder, Sobonfu Somé. She was a respected author, lecturist and activist and brought her passion to the United States. When asked what she wanted most in Africa, there was no question is Somé’s mind.
“Water,” said Somé, “because in my country there is none. We have to walk 5-10 miles to get water.”
When she was almost ready to give up on the failed product, Somé was questioned by an African boy when the well would be built, and she knew that she couldn’t give up. After lots of hard work and preparation, a Pennsylvanian high school conducted the first ever Walking for Water event and raised $65,000. Currently, the Walking for Water program is a huge success and has raised over $260,000 and built over 26 wells in rural villages in Africa.
“People are walking less, and they’re able to go to school. We’ve been able to educate children and it’s all because of teenagers like you,” said Wisdom Springs board member Susan Hough, who was a main founder of the “Walking for Water” program.
Walking for Water plans to raise $40,000 this year and be able to build four wells. To achieve this goal, students and parents should attend the event on June 3, give a donation and spread awareness to the fact that not everybody is as lucky as we are.
“I have learned the value of water,” said Russell, “and how lucky we are to live in a nation full of sanitary water, something that is a dream to these African villages.”

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Student-run organizations fundraise for African Villages