“Give water, give life.”
As part of their religion class at St. Dominic Savio School in Bellflower, fifth grade boys and girls are learning how they can work together to do exactly that by holding a variety of fundraisers to support The Water Project, an organization that provides access to clean, safe water in several African countries.
Salesian Sister ThienAnh Khong has been coordinating the school fundraising effort since the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. The primary goal is to give the students a hands-on learning experience about the “social teaching of the Church,” she explained, adding that she hopes the lesson stays with them “for life.”
The 37 students were broken up into four teams (two boys’ teams and two girls’ teams) and each came up with a unique name/slogan: Aqua Para Africa, Dig a Well, Quench the Thirst of the Poor, and Pump it Up for the Thirsty. To date, the fundraisers have included sales of: rainbow loom bracelets; fresh fruit and healthy snacks; cookies and cupcakes; spaghetti-and-meatballs boxed lunches, and more.
In addition, noted Khong, many of the students are “sacrificing their snack money” to make their own monetary donations as well. As a result, to date the students have raised $3,339.74 --- with the end goal of raising a grand total of $5,000.
Upon achieving their proposed goal (which they expect to reach by the end of March), the Water Project will then provide the name and location of the African village where a new water well will be built to serve hundreds in the surrounding community. Countries the organization serves include Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, and Southern Sudan.
“We are very proud of all the work that has been put into this [project], as this has engaged not only our school, but likewise our local community,” said Mitos Quejada, librarian and advanced math teacher at St. Dominic Savio, noting that local parishioners and high school students have helped support the fundraisers.
Sister Khong praised the Water Project for providing “all the tools to help and inspire the kids” to reach their goal, including their own direct donation page on The Water Project’s website https://thewaterproject.org/community/profile/thienanh-khong. On that page, the children share the following message for their supporters:
“We’re hoping that you will help us to bring fresh water to those who are dying for lack of it. The water of Baptism makes us all children of God, and therefore we are calledto be witnesses to Jesus and the work of the Church.
“Our aim is to provide water for a whole town that is without … to bring them to life in our own little way and give you the opportunity to join us in the same mission.”