Compassion and love spread far and wide, and we love when this happens, here at Amman Imman. Our amazing Wells of Love students and teachers have helped disseminate the stories of the people of the Azawak from school to school, reaching over 135 schools since we started in 2006. One dedicated teacher has been a catalyst for sharing Amman Imman in the Washington DC area.
Suzanne Stork is an upper elementary teacher in the Montessori program at Drew Model Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. This is not our first encounter with Suzanne, as we met her when she was working in Washington DC at Aidan Montessori. Suzanne was the driving force behind making "A Walk for Water" a yearly event at Aidan. She has also supported Amman Imman by helping to shape several of our Wells of Love curriculum resources and tools, and authoring Amman Imman, A Story. When Suzanne moved to the Drew Model School, she was determined to bring the captivating stories of the Azawak to her new students.
It has been two years since Drew began its relationship with Amman Imman, specifically Suzanne’s upper elementary class, and they have been very successful in bringing our mission to the other students and staff at the school! Initially, they started with a few small events to spark their own inspiration for compassion. No matter what, Suzanne always expressed in her emails her children’s dedication to the cause and their eagerness to learn about the people of the Azawak.
When International Day rolled around in January of 2013, her students studied the country of Mali, where a good portion of the Azawak valley lies. It was a great opportunity for the children to learn more about the work of Amman Imman, the people of the Azawak region, and their struggle to survive without access to clean and permanent water sources. Suzanne’s class presented this information to their fellow students in several classrooms as well. It’s moving to see children taking a genuine interest and feeling concern about a situation so different from one’s own, and at such a young age.
In addition to these presentations, the students of Drew held their own Wells of Love campaign,
This was just the beginning of the school’s efforts to help the people of the Azawak. When our Associate Director, Debra Kahn, visited the class in January of 2014, the students learned more in-depth about conditions in the Azawak, heard stories of the people and their lives, and understood how Amman Imman helps with food security, health and sanitation projects, livestock programs and education -- which only made them want to help even more!
Soon after Debra’s visit, the students held another Wells of Love campaign, and also fundraised by means of a bake sale. They raised $450.27, while boosting awareness, learning team-work and broadening their global perspective -- each important to their Montessori program, and also to their evolution as future leaders. While the students at Drew developed their own skills, they assisted Amman Imman in providing basic services for the people of our Azawak communities, who in turn will be able to enhance their own lives with their own determination.
As always, thank you to the helping hands of our young supporter at the Drew Model School and thank you to Suzanne!
Contributed by Tina Burchette, Amman Imman Intern.