Bringing Water To A Community Half A World Away
By Colette Linton
SARATOGA SPRINGS— From history, to tourism and a city brand, the element of water is a facet of Saratoga Springs that permeates many aspects of life and business. However the funds to be raised on April 12 from the “Kids Helping Kids” 5K, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., in this community will be directed to benefit another community halfway around the world.
St. Clements Regional Catholic School of Saratoga Springs and the St. Clements Roman Catholic Church since January have raised $27,365.03, as of March 25, for their campaign “Springs For Life”, an initiative to build five wells in Tigray, Ethiopia.
The campaign started when "Water to Thrive" Program Ambassador Suzanne Barrick moved to Saratoga Springs two and a half years ago from Texas.
She brought her experiences with the faith based nonprofit, which donates 100 percent of the funds it receives to building wells in Africa to Saratoga.
After seeing firsthand during a trip last year to Ethiopia the impact the wells her previous congregation funded, she decided to initiate a campaign at St. Clements Roman Catholic Church and the St. Clements Regional Catholic School.
During her trip, she wanted to experience a situation that many have a difficult time imagining: the daily four to six mile trek women and girls in Ethiopia walk for water. “It took me 15 minutes to stabilize the jerry can,” she said. The jerry can being the container weighing 30-45 lbs when filled with water and carried on one’s back.
“That was one of the things I wanted to do,” she said. “We like to think about what it is like, but until you actually do it, to think about the physical burden of doing it. When I was walking, it was exhausting but that you were actually carrying the water that was making your family sick: that was very difficult.”
"Springs For Life" has already received the coordinates of their first four wells to be built in Tigray, Ethiopia. Each well will not only to reach the wealth of the water table beneath the sun-drenched geography of developing countries in Africa, servicing about 250-500 people in a community, but it will cascade into improving other areas of life. to educate a team on how to maintain it as well as making available options for families.
“So what you find is when water projects are implemented, enrollment in schools go up, and the mothers the women can do other things, less commute, they water is healthier, and kids at school,” Barrick said. “And it’s a whole transformation of the quality of life that they have.”
The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that dig the wells also educate the community on how to properly maintain the equipment and about a level of sanitation that was not possible before.
“Kids Helping Kids” will be the final event to wrap up the campaign.
President and Founder of "Water To Thrive", located in Texas, Dick Moeller, visited St. Clements March 22 on World Water Day. Since the nation-wide program’s inception, 450 projects have been carried out to support approximately 210,000 people in four countries in Africa.
The average congregation raises between $5,000 and $10,000 to raise money for one or two projects, and that the amount of funds that St. Clements has aggregated is a great result, he said. “It has gone really well,” he said.