Montessori Well of Love: A Dream Becomes A Reality

Ariane speaking at the conference in 2006
This past weekend I had the opportunity to return to the venue that launched Amman Imman: Water is Life in Montessori schools around the world.  Four years ago in 2006, Ariane Kirtley spoke at the Montessori Peace Academy, a yearly conference sponsored by the Montessori Foundation.  Through her photos and stories, she told  250 educators about her dream to bring water to the Azawak of West Africa. With students at her side, she described lives on the brink.  She passionately asked for help to drill deep boreholes, structures that could reach viable and clean water. Many signed on to help that day, inspired to build Montessori Wells of Love throughout the region that would bring the Montessori community together in a united effort to save the lives of the children of the Azawak.

Their response reverberated as more than 50 Montessori schools around the world heeded Ariane's call.   The Wells of Love program was born from that initial presentation, sparking the development of  a growing service learning program that now has curriculum resources, presentation materials, fundraising kits, and an expanding brigade of schools and students collaborating together.

I was with Ariane when she made that initial presentation. This time I had the honor of announcing that Ariane's dream is becoming a reality.  "With the help of students, Amman Imman has drilled two boreholes.  This year a borehole was drilled in the village of Kijigari.  It has been named  Montessori Well of Love".  The announcement was received with a round of enthusiastic applause.

Suzanne at our table
All weekend people came to our table in the lobby to congratulate us. I spoke with many new teachers interested in involving their students. I met many people who I'd been communicating with via email.  It felt extremely gratifying and validating to get positive feedback from teachers who have shared Amman Imman with their students, and to know that what we've provided has not only helped them make a difference in the Azawak but has also enriched their lives as well.    This is what giving and taking action is all about.

On Saturday afternoon,  Suzanne Stork (Aidan Montessori), Bonnie Benthall (Five Oaks Academy) and I  presented Amman Imman and Wells of Love in a workshop called "Social Studies, Social Action".  Suzanne tied in the Montessori perspective, I shared the story of the people of the Azawak and Bonnie brought in the voices of her students, our Heroes of Compassion.

Debbie, Bonnie and Suzanne present a workshop

We welcome many new schools to our growing movement including:  New Morning Montessori, Claremont Montessori, New Gate-Field School, Lakeland Montessori, Village Montessori School, Indian Harbor Montessori and the Queen of Peace Children's House, and several others including schools across the United States and in Canada, Trinidad and Poland.  We look forward to sharing their stories with you as they engage their students.

Together we can continue to bring hope, water and life to the most vulnerable in the world!

- Debbie


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