3rd-graders helping kids in Tanzania

January 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
One billion people worldwide live without clean drinking water.

A local organization called Blue Planet Run wants to change that and has challenged a group of Redwood City 3rd-graders to help them build some wells in Tanzania.

ABC7 salutes Blue Planet Run and the 3rd-graders of Redeemer Lutheran School of Redwood City for helping empower an entire community in Tanzania.

The students collected pledges of one dollar for every mile they run. Their goal was 30 miles in 30 days. The money will go to help kids in a village in Tanzania.

In a video provided by Blue Planet Run children can be seen collecting water to drink from a contaminated stream.

"I think it's kind of sad that they don't know that they're drinking dirty water," said 3rd-grader Isaac Shaeffer.

"Other people don't really have clean water like we do. We take it for granted," added classmate Violeta Evans.

The children in Tanzania are forced to walk about four miles to get to the stream.

"On a normal day they would go to school for a couple of hours, and then they would have to leave and go find water in jugs and bring them back to their community," said teacher Lindsey Kinstler.

The money collected by the students and others will go to build wells and pumps.

The hand pumps will bring water to 1200 students at three different locations in Tanzania. The organization responsible for putting all of this together is Blue Planet Run Foundation, based in the Bay area.

"They do the cooking. They do the bathing. They drink out of it. And, as a result people are in the hospital, the community hospitals, all the time," said Lisa Nash.

Nash says bringing clean water would solve more than just health problems. The organization's motto has been, "Where there is a well, there is a way."

"Three villages that one of our partners actually measured after they put in wells, 84 percent more children went to school, and women started up 10 to 15 new businesses in every village," said Nash.

The local community will be in charge of digging the well. Once the project is completed a management committee comprised mainly of women will be created.

The project fits well with the Redeemer's philosophy of global cooperation.

"The staff had talked about it at staff meetings you know, how can we reach out, how can we make somebody else's life a little better?" said Redeemer Principal Mike Mancini.

The 3rd-graders also learned about the importance of physical activity to stay healthy.

"I love to run because actually, when you run you are actually stretching while you are doing something," said 3rd-grader Isaac Bibbs.

The students are doing more than just "something." They are about to change the quality of life of an entire community.

"People will be healthy. Kids can go to school. Women can start businesses. They can even sell the excess water to other communities and make it into a business of their own," explained Nash.