By Sue Tiffin
Published June 29 2017
The Riverwalk in Minden was filled with staff and students from Archie Stouffer Elementary School on the afternoon of June 22 when the school joined together to raise awareness and funding for clean water in impoverished villages.
“We’re doing it to help kids in India to build a well” said Fallon Thorn as she balanced a bucket full of water along the walk. “They walk hours and hours.”
“But we can get water easily” said her friend Elyse Boisvert.
“That’s very noble” one bystander told the students as they passed him on Invergordon Avenue.
“They’re emulating what it’s like for a young person – usually young girls and it’s considered housework – to have to walk up to three kilometres away for access to clean water” said Carolyn Langdon representative for the Help a Village Effort charity.
The Walk for Water event began as a class project for Michele Coneybeare’s students. When she extended the invitation to participate to other classes the answer was a resounding yes. The students – from kindergarten to Grade 8 – raised more than $1000 toward a well that will be installed in a rural village in India through the initiatives of HAVE. A hand pump costs about $1500 to install and an electric system can cost $2500 to $3000.
“Some of us did some reading and researching about clean water and access to it in underdeveloped countries” said Coneybeare a Grade 3 teacher and HAVE board member. “Some of my students were earning their donations by doing extra chores at home.”
Representatives of the ASES Me to We team were stationed outside of TD Bank during the walk to help answer questions and raise additional donations. Aryah Sullivan Jasmine Jawanda and Alexius Mills said they were excited to pair up with the efforts as their global initiative focus.
“It was neat hearing people walking saying ‘this is heavy how do they do this?” said Sullivan.
“I was on the opposite bank of the river with my class when other classes were walking out from the boardwalk with banners and buckets cheering and waving” said Coneybeare. “It was a real ‘wow’ moment. I had a few tears building. We live in a tremendous community and country to have the freedom and safety to join together in such a fun way to help others.”
HAVE is a registered charity formed in Haliburton County in 1982. The charity is represented throughout Canada and focuses on providing safe drinking water sanitation and good hygiene education in rural villages largely in India. The organization hires people local to the villages to help install the pumps. In 35 years HAVE has installed about 1200 pumps within rural India according to Ron Reid president. An additional $2300 each for both HAVE and the YWCA was raised at the recent Highlands Food and Beverage Showcase at Wintergreen according to the Wintergreen Facebook page.
To learn more about H.A.V.E. visit://www.helpavillageeffort.org.