People from the village of Adot, South Sudan, celebrating the new well
After reading the novel, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park in the winter of 2018, the sixth grade class at Christ Episcopal School in Rockville, Maryland was inspired to have a positive, lasting impact in the world. The novel portrayed the true story of Salva Dut, a Sudanese lost boy, who faced extreme challenges as he fled civil conflict in his South Sudanese village. The novel also told of the difficulty Sudanese families have in gaining access to clean water.
Galvanized by compassion for these suffering families, the CES 6th graders decided that they wanted to help get clean water to more families in South Sudan. This began a three-month campaign to raise money for Water for South Sudan, a non-profit created by Salva Dut. Their hope was to have the ability to co-sponsor a well in South Sudan. In order to realize their dream, the students needed to raise $5000—a lofty goal. The class was highly motivated and leveraged social media, as well as, a marketing campaign they developed and used throughout the school and church community. As part of the marketing, the students pooled their own money to design and sell bracelets that said “Water for South Sudan” and included the web address for the on-line, crowdsourcing web site that they created to collect donations.
The project soon exceeded expectations. By April, 2018, the students had raised over $15,000 from both the CES community and their extended network. This meant that rather than co-sponsoring a well with other schools, CES would sponsor one additional well in its entirety. In February, 2019, Christ Episcopal School received word that the well had been built! CES received pictures of the well surrounded by people in the Adot village waving their thanks and holding a sign recognizing Christ Episcopal School’s and Church’s sponsorship.
Christ Episcopal School’s students are truly overwhelmed with what they have achieved. They have thrown their hearts into this project, feeling a strong connection with the plight of the Sudanese people. The generosity of the CES community has left a lasting legacy for the families in the Adot village and the students at CES. It is a legacy that is bound to create positive change in the minds, hearts and spirits of all those who have been touched by this project. The entire CES community–and the people of the Diocese of Washington–are proud of these students who on their own embraced the spirit of the Christ Episcopal School motto, “Minds to Learn, Hearts to Love, and Hands to Serve.”