Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 19, 2010
Students stand up for global poor
Catholic youth raise funds to buy mosquito nets, bio-sand water filters, shelter boxes for India
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - Seeing images on TV of children dying from malaria, natural disasters and lack of clean water, one might be inclined to ignore the problems, perhaps even change the channel.
High school students, however, took a more upbeat approach. They decided to "stand up" and make a difference.
A total of 190 students from Edmonton's Catholic high schools united for common projects April 13, raising money for people in developing countries. Every student paid a $5 registration fee, as well as fundraising a minimum of $30 towards a cause of their choice, either a mosquito net project, shelter box project or bio-sand water filters for India.
Carla Cuglietta, chaplain at Austin O'Brien High School, the host school for the second annual Stand Up For day, has been to India and witnessed firsthand the impact of water-borne diseases on the people.
"You can go almost a month without food, but the body can't survive one week without water. It is the most basic need we have, even more basic than food," said Cuglietta.
"The sad fact is that 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean water. That means one-fifth of the world does not have access to a clean glass of water."
Typically, a person in a developing country will use 10 litres of water daily. This is the equivalent of brushing one's teeth with the water running. Flushing the toilet uses about 12 litres, and a five-minute shower uses about 100 litres./p>
Students from J.J. Bowlen School have been raising money for clean water projects for five years. This is the second year other Edmonton Catholic high schools have been involved.
WATER FILTERS' IMPACT
Through money raised last year for Canadian Water Works, Cuglietta brought water filters to India. Afterwards, she said that people felt healthier, and no longer suffered from nausea, diarrhea and other water-borne ailments.
Women, who walked an average of six km per day for water, rejoiced that their joints did not hurt anymore, and their elbows and knees no longer ached.
After showing the students a short video of her visit to India and the families who received water filters, Cuglietta said, "There's a real person at the end of the money you're giving."
Buvinder Gill, a representative from India, thanked the students for their fundraising efforts.
"I didn't live in the slums of India but I lived by the slums, and saw what was going on," said Gill.
"When I lived there, I didn't think it was a problem. I thought that was one of the norms. We were middle class and they were poor, so that was their lives.
"But after being here in Canada and going back to India, then I realized they don't deserve this. Going without water should not be the norm."
Gill reminded the students that their small steps make a big difference in the lives of others.
In order to open the students' minds to other cultures, Indian cuisine was served for lunch.
Booths were set up in the school gym, informing students about fair trade products, distribution of wealth, earthquakes, grinding grain and carrying water atop one's head.
Other social justice speakers included Father Paul Kavanagh, a water conservationist, the founder of Earthwater and Rotary Club reps.
A Christian rock band, From Love to Forfeit, played songs during breaks throughout the day.
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