Water Is Life Kenya
Governor Markell visited NCCL
The students told him about organizing and running the Water Walk for Water Is Life Kenya. They raised over $2,300 to buy water tanks. They also spoke about raising $600 through the Panto to support, Lenkishon, a high school student in Kenya who NCCL has sponsored for five years. The students also helped sell, and our community bought, $875 worth of beaded jewelry and goods that support women in Kenya and help them to pay for school for their children.
Governor Markell then answered NCCL students' insightful questions about what it is like serving as governor of Delaware.
NCCL students walk for water awareness
By Josh Shannon, Newark Post
One by one, the students at Newark Center for Creative Learning picked up gallon jugs of water and carried them on a half-kilometer loop through the school parking lot and nearby Phillips Park.
Wednesday's water walk was intended to give the students a glimpse of the challenges faced by Maasai women in Kenya – who often have to walk several miles to get water for their families – and raise money for a Newark-based charity that seeks to help them“I don’t think I’d be able to carry five gallons that long,” sixth-grader Amelia Roosen noted while taking a break at the halfway point of the course.
“People need to know how water affects people’s lives,” she added. “Many people take it for granted and don’t use it sparingly.”The walk was the culmination of several months of planning and learning about the work of Water is Life Kenya, founded in 2007 by Newark resident Joyce Tannian.
Tannian first went to Kenya in 2005 to work on a girls’ education initiative. However, she quickly realized that a more fundamental problem was the lack of access to water. In the Maasai culture, fetching water is the job of women and girls, and many girls have to quit school in order to transport water.
Water is Life Kenya has funded 14 wells, benefiting an estimated 30,000 people. Its work has cut the average distance traveled for water from 4 miles to 1 mile.
“Their lives are freed up, and the burden is removed,” Tannian said. “Once they have water, they can think about what they want to do.”NCCL has supported Water is Life Kenya for several years by donating proceeds from drama performances, and recently, students were asking questions about the distances traveled and the weight of the water jugs, said Marilynn Magnani, who teaches fifth and sixth grade.
The students began monitoring their own water consumption and weighing different sized jugs. Ultimately, they decided to plan the water walk fundraiser.
Like many things at NCCL, which prioritizes student-driven learning, the event was organized by the students, with the teachers providing only a support role. The kids measured the distance, solicited donations from parents and even decorated one of the school’s vans like an elephant – complete with cardboard ears, a trunk and a tail – to represent the various animals a Kenyan woman might encounter while carrying water.
The event raised approximately $1,800, which will fund several water storage tanks.
Fifth-grader Finn O’Connell said participating in the event gave him a better understanding of the situation in Kenya.
He added that carrying water as far as the Maasai women do would be difficult.
“The farthest I’ve ever walked without taking a break was 3 miles, and that was when I wasn’t carrying gallons of water,” he said.