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Lesson on access to clean water moves Campbell River students to take action

A recent novel study has prompted a class of grade 6/7 students at École Phoenix Middle School to action.
The Grade 6/7 class at Ecole Phoenix Middle School decided to take action and help improve drinking water supply in South Sudan after they read the novel A Long Walk to Water. SD72 photo

A recent novel study has prompted a class of grade 6/7 students at École Phoenix Middle School to action.

After reading the novel “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, which tells the true story of Sudanese Lost Boy Salva Dut and teaches about water conditions in South Sudan, Africa, the class asked their teacher, Tara Gordon, if they could raise money for Salva Dut’s charity, Water for South Sudan.

The students have set an ambitious goal to raise $8,000 with the hope of possibly raising $15,000 – enough to gift a South Sudan village that currently has no water with a well.

“It made me sad to know that a lot of people don’t have access to water,” said Kesa Johnston. “When I think cleaning my room is a chore, I think of kids that have to walk half a day or more just to collect water, that is often unsafe or dirty, for their family to use.”

As part of the lesson and fundraising discussion, the class also learned that there are First Nations communities within Canada that still do not have access to clean water. While upset about that fact, the students decided as a group to support the South Sudan charity as they considered the overall wealth of the countries and potential opportunities for support.

“We are all the human race, and we all deserve to have clean water,” said Aliya Liesche. “But Canada is a wealthier country than South Sudan. People in South Sudan live off less than $2 a day.”

The students decided that they wanted to think globally and help people in other countries that do not have basic water and electricity.

With the plan to fundraise as a class until the end of the school year, the students are brainstorming fundraising ideas. So far, they are selling chocolate bars, have set up a donation website, are asking local businesses to support them in their efforts by having a donation box at their till or counter, and have been interviewed by the Raven, 2Day FM and Wave radio stations to help draw attention to their efforts.

The KDC Health Centre was their first business to donate, supporting the students’ efforts with $400. If you would like more information email their teacher at or visit their website to donate:

RELATED: Campbell River students send messages of support to first responders

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