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Summerfield Hosts Fundraiser for Water for South Sudan

Did you know 61% of communities in South Sudan are unable to safely dispose of human waste? Or that women in Africa work 40 billion hours each year walking to find clean water, and one out of 10 people in South Sudan have access to basic sanitation?

For February’s “Dollar Jean Day,” Summerfield Charter Academy came together to raise money for Water for South Sudan (WFSS), an organization that works to deliver sustainable quality-of-life services to and with the people of South Sudan by efficiently providing access to clean, safe water, and improving hygiene and sanitation practices in areas of great need.

Summerfield participated in the Iron Giraffe Challenge, which tasks schools with raising $1,000 to donate to WFSS. If schools reach that goal, they receive an Iron Giraffe Challenge poster and are automatically entered to win a visit from Salva, or one of ten other prizes. Giving to this organization transforms the lives of those living in South Sudan. Summerfield gave families the entire month of February to donate to this great cause and raised $1,461!

To take the fundraiser a step further, a selection of fifth-grade students and all sixth-grade students read “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, which is based on the true story of Salva Dut, founder of WFSS and one of the “Lost Boys” from Sudan who fled his country because of war and is now working to help the people of his home country.

Chelsea Shelton, language arts teacher at Summerfield, was looking for virtual options for fundraising efforts and with “A Long Walk to Water” being introduced as part of the curriculum, she suggested WFSS as a school-wide fundraiser.

“This is the first time we have done this particular fundraiser, although we typically do monthly jean days where we encourage students to pay one dollar, or more, to wear jeans on a Friday and then donate that money to a good cause,” said Shelton.

The book focuses on the importance of courage and perseverance through the life of Dut and readers can see the struggles he had to persevere through and the courage he had to have to get safely out of his home country of Sudan when young boys were being forced to fight in the war going on there. He chose to do something to help the people of his home country by creating this organization and traveling the world to promote it.

“Our kids really enjoyed reading about Dut and learning about courage and perseverance from him,” said Shelton. “And of course, donating to his great cause helps us promote compassion for others who are less fortunate than us. This book and fundraiser really helped us have the opportunity to see what life is like for others around the world and helped us also to be grateful for the things we have, like clean water, which we may take for granted!”