Heroes of Compassion

This past weekend the annual Montessori Peace Academy conference sponsored by the International Montessori Council took place in Clearwater Beach, Florida. During the opening ceremonies, Maureen Keeling an Amman Imman coordinator from Odyssey Montessori in Fredericksburg, Virginia, read the following letter of appreciation from Ariane Kirtley to all the conference attendees:

Dearest students, teachers, parents, and other leaders attending the Montessori Peace Academy conference;

It has been one year since you welcomed me wholeheartedly at last November’s Montessori Peace Academy conference. Since then, so much has happened with program Amman Imman, greatly thanks to your help. So I write to thank you for the tremendous partnership that has built between Amman Imman and the Montessori Schools, now named the Montessori Wells of Love.

Since last year’s Montessori Peace Academy conference, over 38 Montessori Schools across the nation and internationally (Cayman Islands, Sweden, Japan, and New Zealand) have joined our coalition of water, love, and hope and have been busy raising awareness and funds for Amman Imman. They have held campaigns such as “A Month Without Water” and “A Walk for Water”, and students have also individually raised money and awareness through bake sales, coin collections in water jugs, the sale of rosemary, toy sales, peace cards, soap making sales, obtaining matching grants from foundations and organizations, and many other wonderful initiatives. There is even now a blog and website devoted to keeping people updated about our wonderful partnership.

While you were busy building awareness and funds for the children of the Azawak in the United States and internationally, my husband and I were in Niger building the first deep well/borehole. Our work, conducted in 125 degree heat and under extremely hard and strenuous conditions, was not only challenging but also often discouraging. But your students sent us photos and letters of love and encouragement, and these kept us inspired, smiling and working hard. These tokens of love, that were shared with the children of the Azawak, were our encouragement and strength. They were also a source of great joy for the children of the Azawak, that were moved to tears knowing that children here in America loved them and were helping to bring them water.

In June of this year, our first deep well was built, and since then clean, pure water has been flowing in the Azawak. Up to 25,000 people are using this well. With plenty of water to drink, cook and wash with, the children are healthy and clean, the parents have begun growing sustenance crops, the animal herds are healthier, and the communities have built a school for themselves.

Many more must be built to help all the children of the Azawak not only live, but also thrive. I hope that the Montessori Wells of Love Coalition continues to grow and thrive and help bring water and hope to the children of the Azawak.

Thank you for leading your students to be heroes of compassion. Thank you for helping bring hope and life to 25,000 people in the Azawak. And thank you for keeping my husband and me inspired during our moments of discouragement, so that we could put your love and hard work to action by building our first deep well.

Thank you Montessori!!
Sincerely and so gratefully yours!

Amman Imman team, including
Ariane in red and Denis with red head covering, with village leaders


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