|from AjDele Photography|
Hi, I'm a sixth grader in the Bethesda, MD area and I'm doing a project on social justice. I was wondering how you saw yourself as "repairing the world"- making it a better place. Please respond ASAP.
My name is Debbie and I also live in Bethesda, Maryland. I'm so glad you've asked me that question because it's close to my heart. Since 2006 I've been working with Amman Imman: Water is Life, a nonprofit organization that helps some of the most vulnerable populations in the world meet their most essential needs, starting with water in the Azawak of West Africa. The Azawak is one of the only places in the world where people still die simply because they cannot access water.
I heard about Amman Imman from its founder, Ariane Kirtley. At the time, I was working as an administrator at a school. Ariane was traveling from school to school asking students to help her build borehole wells that would access clean water starting at 600 feet deep through the vast Azawak region. She went to the children because she could not get the government nor other organizations to do what needed to be done.
I was deeply moved by Ariane's stories, and her passion and concern for the people of this region. I felt compelled to join her. As a volunteer, I began to develop a school network and service learning program called Wells of Love. Since then, over 100 schools have participated in the program.
In 2009, I left my school administrator job, and now work for Amman Imman full-time. With school children around the world who have given their time and energy to raise funds, I've helped Ariane and Amman Imman build five of these borehole wells. Now, over 135,000 people and animals in the Azawak have gained access to life-giving water. Within the communities where our boreholes operate, food programs, education, health and economic activities have begun, truly making our villages "Oases of Life".
We don't have much control in this world, but making things better when we see a problem is our responsibility. This is the lesson I learned when I teamed up with Ariane. For me, working with Amman Imman to save and improve the lives of the people of the Azawak gives me the opportunity to make a difference. It's one corner of the world where I can do a little repair.
I am honored to be able to "repair the world" - to help real people, to save lives - in this small way. I hope I've answered your question, Ethan. Please let me know if you have any more and I'll be happy to respond.
I invite you and your family to join us at A Walk for Water on May 11 at the Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda! Click here for more information including registration and fundraising. I invite you to join me in making the world a better place for the people of the Azawak of West Africa!