This month’s focus for the Social Justice Challenge is Water, a precious, life-giving resource that many of us take for granted. It is only relatively recently that awareness is growing everywhere of water being a finite resource. Many of us just have to turn on the tap for a ready supply of clean water for drinking, washing, even playing – but it is shocking indeed to think that nearly half the people living in the developing world do not have access to clean water; and that, according to UNICEF:
“Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.”
Older Brother and Little Bother cite a statistic they believe comes from WaterAid that 3 people die every 10 minutes because of a lack of clean water. In an attempt to turn this remote, hopeless-sounding figure into something they can get their heads round, we are currently reading Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa that Brought Them Together by Herb Shoveller (Kids Can Press, 2006). This is the wonderful and inspiring story of how the determination of one small boy in Canada, Ryan Hreljac, captured people’s imagination so that he was able to raise the $2,000 needed to buy a well for a community in Uganda – and then go on raising money to fund drills for more wells – so that now, the Ryan’s Well Foundation, with the now eighteen-year-old Ryan at its head, is working to bring safe drinking water and increase sanitation and hygiene awareness in 16 countries around the world.
Another engaging book and superb resource for raising young people’s awareness about water is (more…)