We are a private, progressive school in NYC serving children ages 3-14. In the 6th grade, our students study water contamination in Science class, Human Rights in Social Studies, and read "A Long Walk to Water" in English. As part of an integrated, cross-curricular unit of study, our students wish to raise awareness, in our community, about the water crisis and specifically to help a school in South Sudan where the book they are reading takes place.
Columbia Secondary School's Green Team believes fully in the mission of our school which is to prepare students with strong academics to be global citizens who care about the earth's sustainability and global issues. We are a 6-12th grade school.
As 6th Graders at Friends Seminary we have read The Long Walk to Water and are inspired by Salva Dut's story. After participating in a water simulation this fall, we researched the struggles around the world to access clean, safe water. We are eager to raise funds to help with a WASH (water, sanitation, and health) installation to benefit the Chilamate Kum school in Nicaragua. Currently, the school needs a well, new latrines and handwashing stations. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere. In a country where 37% of rural people have no safe drinking water (UNICEF) and 47% of the forest cover has disappeared over the last 50 years (UN Food and Agriculture Organization), these water, sanitation, and reforestation programs are a critical way to improve the living standards of the rural poor while conserving environmental resources. We believe in the power of youth to make a difference in this world. We carefully selected our nonprofit partner, H2O for Life, because they work hard to impact the access to clean, safe water around the world. We also want to help the issues of those seeking asylum at our southern borders by helping build infrastructures in Nicaragua—one of the countries from which many are fleeing.
Our 7th graders have begun reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. While reading this novel, we wanted to have the opportunity to directly help a school in need. We have read Nya's struggles so far, and it saddens us that children have to live in these conditions because of a lack of access to clean water. We want to do our small part to help other children in need.
Our school recently began the International Baccalaureate program. Part of the IB mission encompasses becoming globally minded and aware of the needs of the world. The CAS (Creativity Action and Service) program within IB encourages students to pursue this global interaction. In America, we rarely recognize the need for fresh water in areas around the world and as a group, we believe it is important to give people the same opportunities we have been given. So, the swim team is collaborating with the IB program to have a fun, swimming competition at the school to raise money benefiting this great cause. We're excited and we hope it is a success!
As part of our curriculum, we have been reading Linda Sue Park's novel A Long Walk to Water, and were moved to help others overcome the scarcity of water that poses such daunting challenges to our counterparts in Sudan.