The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Clean Safe Water

Cheru is five years old and she lives in Kenya with her family. The youngest of four siblings, each day Cheru walks 7 km to collect water. She can only carry it in a small kettle because of her size. Cheru and her family have to make that trip twice a day taking close to seven hours gather the much need water. This means Cheru and her siblings rarely have the time to go to school.

Cheru is one of the 844 million people worldwide who still do not have access to clean drinking water. For those people, the average distance that they walk each day in the search of drinking water is 6 km. To access water, they often have to dig for it or find surface water sitting in puddles, dried river or lake beds. The water Cheru collects is dirty and it makes her and her family ill and causes many illness and diseases including cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and dysentery.

The search for water is a lifesaving task but one that at the same time can put their lives at risk. In developing countries, each person services on an average of three liters of water per day. This is for washing, cooking, cleaning and drinking. In Australia we average 340 liters per person per day and can be confident that our water is clean and safe to drink.

844 million people worldwide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water. What does 844 million people look like? Such a large number it is hard to comprehend especially for young children. To give you an idea, 844 million is equivalent to the population of Australia times 34. It is also equivalent to the population of the following countries combined: United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, NZ, Poland, Italy and Portugal.

On Friday 18 May the children from Pre-Kindy to Year 5 took part in a 6 km Walk for Water. The 6 km Walk for Water is an annual appeal lead by World Vision where people around the world walk 6 km, which is the average distance children in developing countries have to walk to get access to clean water. The funds raised will go towards supporting the work of World Vision which will help communities in developing countries around the world to gain easy and safe access to clean drinking water so that they can lead healthy lives. The actions of our Junior School children on Friday gave them an opportunity to reflect on the plight of people around the world and to do what little they could to help.

Following our walk, we gathered for an assembly where we talked about why the walk was important as well as the plight of Cheru and other children around the world. The boys were extremely engaged in the assembly. They asked some wonderful questions and thought hard about how they could make a difference to the lives of these people.

There will be further opportunities this year for us to support the work of World Vision and their efforts to bring clean drinking water to people around the world. We hope that our Scotch College community will support those actions and help us to change of lives of children like Cheru.

Mr John Stewart

Head of Junior School