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Meet the Water Walkers: École Glenbrook students make a splash to change the world…

WE Walk for Water: École Glenbrook Middle School students Edana, Isobel and Ella do their part to change the world for the better…

Opening a window to the experience of children around the world…

For middle school students Edana, Isobel and Ella, carrying four-litre jugs of water around Terry Hughes park last week was a brief chance to share the experience of a staggering 663 million people around the globe.

That’s how many people do not have access to clean water. Millions must collect and carry water on a daily basis just to met their basic needs.

For one of the students at École Glenbrook, carrying her four-litre container around the park was an opportunity to think of what it’s like to be a girl in a rural part of a country like Kenya, in Africa, who must walk for several hours a day for water.

For another, it was a window into the experience of children closer to home here in Canada – where for many First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, basic access to clean water is still a national issue.

The sight of hundreds of students making the rounds of the New Westminster neighbourhood carrying water jugs made its own splash, as students raised their  awareness of a human right that so many take for granted.


École Glenbrook Middle School’s Leadership Club organized and led the “WE Walk for Water” event on May 9th and 10th.  Pictured here are Sam, Serina, Kayla, Paige Sofia and Syriana.

Taking the lead…

École Glenbrook Middle School’s (EGMS) Leadership Club organized and led the WE Walk for Water event. Their goal: to raise $1,000 and make a difference. 

School classes signed up for 20-minute time blocks to participate as water walkers on May 9th and 10th, while teachers incorporated related learning into their classrooms.

With roughly 625 EGMS students carrying four litres each, they together carted a grand total of 2,500 litres of water. Most people who must transport water to meet their basic needs carry 20 litres each.

School Counselor Jane Osborne invited the students to “feel the weight of the jug you’re carrying and imagine what it would be like to carry five times that amount of water.”

An experiential approach to understanding basic human rights…

Osborne explained that the experiential learning approach for students at EGMS can help deepen understanding of the fact that water is a basic human right that is denied to millions.

“We turn on the tap and get running water when we want it,” Osborne reminded school classes.

She challenged the students to consider what they would not be doing if every day they had to collect and carry water to meet their basic needs.

“There would be no time for school – or play,” noted several students. For adults, the need to access water would severely limit their ability to get employment.

The leadership club wanted to do something about that.

The EGMS Water Walkers campaign as of May 16 had met their target of raising $1,000. Fundraising included donations at the school office, pledge forms for students to pick up, and the opportunity to donate online.

The WE Walk for Water campaign explains that a $25.00 donation can give one person clean water for life.

Building wells and other strategies that provide access to clean water can help families and communities break the cycle of poverty.

The charity focuses on collaboration with communities for sustainable change that provides a hand up rather than a hand out. WE Villages has provided more than one million people with access to clean water and sanitation – and EGMS students are helping do their part.