Magazine article Montessori Life

Water Brings Hope to Children

Magazine article Montessori Life

Water Brings Hope to Children

Article excerpt

A project bringing water to the Azawak, a remote region in West Africa, has captured the hearts and minds of Montessori students worldwide. Situated mostly within tlie country of Niger, the Azawak valley is a vast land, about tlie size of Florida. Inhabited mostly by Tuareg and Finland nomads, the 500,000 people who live there exist on the brink of survival, mahdy because there is no water. The task of finding water is left mostly to children. For 3 months durhig the rainy season, children trek an hour or more to dig for water beneath muddy marshes. The collected water is as dark as hot chocolate, yet it is Hie only water available to people who live there. Wlien the marshes dry up durhig the 9-month dry season, the job of retrieving water becomes even more dramatic. Cliddren as young as 10 years old have the responsibdity of traveling 30 mdes a day to the nearest well on the outskirts of this vast valley to get water for their family There is no tune for play, let alone time for school, m a place where every day is spent searching for a simple drink of water.

Yet, even as they struggle, the people who inhabit this land have a gentle spirit. Their generosity and their fight to survive inspired former Montessori student, Yale graduate, and Fulbright scholar Ariane Kirtley to help them. Agency after agency told her that until water was brought in, the region woidd be too dangerous for their aid workers. Yet these people live here hi 120-degree temperatures with no water!

Kirtley persisted, and founded Aiiunan Inuiian, an organization dedicated to improving and saving lives by supplying permanent sources of water to the people living in the Azawak Valley. Now, Montessori students are teaming up with Amman human to bring water to this region hi a project fueled by compassion and inspired by the spirit of activism. Since November 2006, when Ariane Kirtley presented Aiiunan Inuiian at the DVICs Montessori Peace Conference, almost $15,000 has been raised, mostly by tlie efforts of students in various Montessori sdiools. The collective goal for schools is to raise enough fluids to budd a well hi the name of Montessori students worldwide.

For a month before Palm Harbor Montessori Sdiool's Earth Day program, students in Hie Florida school filled water bottles, labeled "Yoiu change can change the world," with corns. …

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