“You would be the ones to carry water for hours every day,” I say to the girls in Canadian classrooms who have first been prompted to raise their hands simply by virtue of being female, “if you lived in water-scarce Nicaragua.” Eyes go wide. “You and your aunts and your moms and your sisters” Eyebrows raise with disbelief. “And that means you may not get to attend school.” With their hands already in the air, these students, raised to value gender equality, start firing questions immediately. One big question, really. “WHY? That’s not fair!”
And they are right. It’s not. Change for Children projects help achieve gender parity in countries where this idea continues to be new instead of the norm.
After asking the big question: Why? as it relates to gender injustice, the students at Elizabeth Barrett Elementary School are pledging to take purposeful action to help women in Nicaragua. And they are ready to walk for them! They are holding a Walk for Water on World Water Day (March 22nd) to raise awareness and funds for the Nicaragua Water Project. Students are committed to bringing a loonie or a toonie or more as a donation to collectively contribute at least the equivalent of $1 a day ($365). And they are CHALLENGING other schools to do the same! By encouraging the participation of other schools, they want to see just how BIG their small act of kindness can grow!
“We will spend thirty minutes on World Water Day walking laps around our soccer field carrying jugs of water in our arms, on our heads and with the help of our friends! We invite your school to find a way (any way!) to participate in this effort to bring a water well to a community in need in Nicaragua. $365 is a small amount, but when we all put our $365 together, it can be BIG. Big as a brand new well!
We need you and we hope you will join us. By ourselves we are small but with you we can be BIG!”
—Elizabeth Barrett students