Langley Fine Arts School students took some time out of the classroom on Tuesday (March 5) afternoon to go on a walk around Fort Langley.
Approximately 115 students participated in the school’s first Water Awareness Day, which was to raise money for a school in the Kota region of Uganda through the ACTS for Water non-profit organization.
But it wasn’t just a leisurely stroll, as part of the purpose was to show students what it’s like to carry heavy jugs of water like their counterparts in some parts of the world.
“We’ve been trying to do some different middle school bonding things to bring our [Grade] 6s and 7s together more. We were looking at water, specifically the water crisis and scarcity around different parts of the world and our First Nations communities,” explained LFAS Grade 7 teacher Emilie Colbourne.
Pairs of students took turns carrying yellow jerrycans through Fort Langley to symbolize the daily walk for clean water that takes part in many areas throughout the world.
“I think we have a tendency to think about ourselves and I think they [students] need to see the perspective from those who have less than we do, and in turn hopefully they become more grateful for what they have, and bring awareness,” explained Colbourne.
Prior to the walk, each student was asked to raise $5 to donate to the cause.
The school’s goal is to fundraise enough money to construct a tap stand at a school in Uganda that would provide students with enough clean water for a year.
“We thought this would be a really good way for them to walk in the shoes of those who do make that walk every day. It was pretty great. I heard lots of groans but also lots of ‘this is fun.’” added Colbourne after the walk.
And while students returned to the school looking tired and shaking out their sore arms, Colbourne was correct in saying students enjoyed the walk.
Grade 6 students Ava Suomi and Isabelle Haugen carried a jerrycan together.
“It was tiring but I think it was worth it,” Suomi said.
“I knew people were out there who do this every day so I wanted to feel what that felt like.”
Suomi said she’d do the walk again in the future, and Haugen added she would do another walk but it “depends how long,” it is.
“It was really hard on your shoulders,” Haugen explained.
Grade 7 students Jenny Unruh and Sky Spencer both said they were surprised at the weight of the jerrycan.
“It was difficult,” admitted Unruh.
“I didn’t think it’d be this heavy.”
Before the students set out on the walk, a volunteer with ACTS for Water spoke to the students and showed videos and photos of the Ugandan students who would benefit from the fundraiser.
“We put on these events called Walk for Water to give them the chance to experience what it may be like for students in Uganda to have to get fresh water every day,” explained ACTS volunteer Holly Sakaki.
“I think it’s important because the world water crisis will continue to be a crisis as they [students] grow older. At this age, they are kind of looking for inspiration and starting to think about how you can have a global impact, so this is a super practical way.”
Those interested in donating to the school’s fundraiser for ACTS for Water can do so by contacting Emilie Colbourne by email at: email@example.com.
For more information on ACTS for Water, visit here: https://acts.ca/