Changhua students ‘Walk for Water’ to build reservoir in Swaziland

Students of a high school in Changhua embarked on a fund-raising drive Thursday, walking for almost a whole day around the central county to seek donations for a project to build a reservoir in Swaziland.

The “Walk for Water” initiative was launched by National Changhua Senior High School Library and sponsored by Heart for Africa Taiwan, a public charity that works to deliver quality care, shelter, food, water, clothing, health care, and education to orphaned and vulnerable children in Swaziland.

Some 30 people, mostly students from the school, set off at around 6 a.m and walked for almost 10 hours in what was the start of their second effort to help provide clean drinking water to remote areas of Swaziland, one of Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic allies.

In 2001, the school library launched a drive that raised NT$5 million (US$158.000) to help build a reservoir in Swaziland, which was completed in 2014 and has a storage capacity of 700 million cubic meters.

On Thursday, Changhua Magistrate Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) commended the students for their efforts to fund a second reservoir and he donated NT$100,000 to the “Walk for Water” initiative on behalf of the county government.

He also paid tribute to two award-winning teenagers from abroad who were part of the new fundraising drive, saying he hoped their achievements would inspire young Taiwanese to become involved in social activism and philanthropy.

The two 15-year-olds, Melati Wijsen of Indonesia and Shireen Zafar of Pakistan, are both winners of the Malala award, which was founded by National Changhua Senior High School Library in 2015 and named after Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, the world’s youngest Nobel laureate.

The school library gives the award, which has a cash value of US$1,000, to under-18 youth from around the globe who have taken substantive action to help bring about positive change in the world.

Melati won the award for her environmental initiative in her hometown, the Indonesian resort island of Bali, to stop the use of plastic bags by 2018.

Zafar, meanwhile, was recognized for an effort that she and her brother launched three years ago in Karachi, Pakistan, to teach street children to read. Since then, the program has attracted other volunteers and grown into a series of “street schools.”

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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