FFHS to host second ‘Water Walk’

Sam Odrowski

While clean drinking water is a basic human right, many developing countries as well as certain part of Canada lack access to it.

To raise awareness about the lack of clean drinking water on many First Nations reserves and in developing countries around the world, Fort High is hosting their second-annual “Water Walk” tomorrow (May 2) from 1:50-3:10 p.m.

Organizers are hoping to raise a total of $1,000 through the event to help build wells in impoverished areas through “Me to We”–an innovative social enterprise that provides products that make an impact, empowering people to change the world with their everyday consumer choices.

Speeches will be given by organizers of the “Water Walk” to better educate students on the issue of clean water both globally and at home.

About one in nine people worldwide don’t have clean water close to home and more than five million people die each year from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation.

“Something I want to make clear is this isn’t just happening in places like Africa or India, which is what we commonly think of, it is happening in our own country as well,” said Grade 11 FFHS student Julia McManaman who helped organize the event.

“There are some reserves that don’t have access to clean water and they do have boiling water advisories always in effect,” she added.

For next year’s “Water Walk,” McManaman hopes to shift the focus towards fundraising for First Nation reserves that don’t currently have access to clean water.

In many developing countries, women and girls are tasked with retrieving water for their families and walk several miles each day, making multiple trips, to retrieve water that usually isn’t clean.

To help students understand what this is like, there will be weighted backpacks that students can wear while walking around the track to simulate the experience of a real water walk.

“We just want to give the students an idea of what it’s like to have to actually walk for your water,” McManaman said.

“I don’t think a lot of people recognize that in many developing countries there are women who have to skip school or don’t get a job because they are walking long distances to get water which isn’t even that clean most of the time,” she added.

The school’s “Water Walk” is part of an initiative by Me to We to encourage school’s to host water walk’s to raise awareness and money for access to clean drinking water.

“It’s a great way to interact with students and get them involved and excited about making this global change and having a positive impact, whether or not you’re 12 or 15 or 50 you can still make those changes,” McManaman noted.

She hopes that through the event more students at Fort High are better educated on issues around unsafe drinking water, locally and around the world.

“The main goal is for students to recognize it and to make changes because I think student’s right now are the ones who have the most impact, who can make such a change,” McManaman remarked.

“The world really does care what the youth have to say so I think it will be really exciting and I hope that everyone does turn out.”

And while the event is geared towards students, members of the public are also encouraged to attend, donate some money, and learn about the issues associated with contaminated water.

“Clean water is not a luxury it is a basic human right and unfortunately millions of people around the world lack access to that because of water sources that are unsafe or far from home,” McManaman explained.

“If you attend . . . you’re going to be making a huge impact and you’re going to be potentially saving lives by donating to something like this.”

If it rains tomorrow afternoon, the “Water Walk” will be held indoors at FFHS.