Students at Mother Brunner School Learn About the Water Crisis in Africa

By Teresa Switalksi

ECHO's PULSE Volunteer, Martin Jimenez, facilitated an interactive learning experience with Mother Brunner's Peacemakers (7th and 8th grade students) to demonstrate the challenges of getting clean, safe, drinking water in some parts of Africa.  The students role-played getting water from a stream or river to their family home.  Martin explained that traditionally the mother and children are the ones who make daily trips to get water.  During this interactive activity, students learned about the variety of challenges people face with traveling many miles to find water, the struggle to carry enough water back to their village, and the dangers they encounter during the trips. Often the water was contaminated resulting in illness or death for the family members which showed a harsh reality during the role-play scenarios.   This experience had a significant impact on the students.  One of the 7th grade students said, "I liked that we got to see how people in Africa get their water and how hard it is.  I also thought it was interesting that it is the women who do the hard work of getting the water."  This student was so moved by the devastating effects of our water crisis that she added, "I'm actually doing my science fair project on water purification because of what we learned."  

Through this thought-provoking experience, students developed a deeper understanding of the importance of clean water and were moved to help. The Peacemakers initiated a fund-raiser whereby they sold popcorn to their classmates and raised $107.  They donated the money to the Sisters of Notre Dame's Clean Water Project! 

Edited by:  Barb Miller

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