Book inspires students to make a difference

Fourth graders raise money for Sudan


Tommie Murray

Students in Ms. Murray’s class count pennies to be donated to a project that provides water wells in South Sudan.

Once again this year the fourth graders at Bellwood-Antis’s Myers Elementary school are raising money for people in Sudan. The project is called Water for South Sudan and this is the second year for this project.

Fourth grade teacher Tommie Murray and the rest of the fourth grade team is raising money and awareness for Water for South Sudan with a project called Change Changes South Sudan.

Water for South Sudan

The idea came about last year when the fourth grade class read the book A Long Walk to Water.” The book follows the life of Salva Dut, who had to flee from school in Sudan and spend his life in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya during the war. Salva survived the war, but found out that his father did not because he died of a water disease.

Girls in Sudan do not get an education because they must walk eight hours each day to get water, and the water isn’t clean.

“The idea to raise money to help these people is completely student developed,” said Ms. Murray

Fourth grade student Ava Miller said, “It will be good for us to help them; we get to go to school and we have clean water to drink and to use to brush our teeth and wash our clothes and they don’t have anything. One out of five people there died without clean water.”

Classmate Maddie Curren added to that by saying, “We have to treat them equal. It’s not fair to let them die.”

We get to go to school and we have clean water to drink and to use to brush our teeth and wash our clothes and they don’t have anything.”

— Ava Miller

It takes $15,000 to construct a well in Sudan and if BASD can raise that amount of money its name will go on the well so that all the people using it can see where the money came from. Last year a little over $5,300 was raised with only $86 coming from the high school. All the rest was raised by the elementary school.

“This year, we are hoping to raise the rest of the $15,000 so we can complete a well,” said Ms. Murray. “That means we need to raise over $9,000.”

Fourth grade students will produce the material for this project, but everyone is urged to participate. Fourth graders are even asking businesses to donate.

The high school can help out by donating money between May 11 and May 15.

Teachers are planning a $5 dress down day for May 13 to contribute to the cause.

“We came up with a way to hopefully get more high school students to participate,” said Ms. Murray. “We are going to do a dirty water challenge, and more details will be available soon.”

Fourth grader Wyatt McKendree said, “It is important that we raise money for people in Sudan because it helps them to get clean water and that can get them to a school and education and possibly bring a medical center to them.”

Ms. Murray said that she believes it teaches her students that they can make a difference without being an adult.

“They can help people near or far.”