PIQUA — After reading about the water crisis in Sudan, students in Leslie Mitchell’s sixth grade English Language Arts class at Piqua Central Intermediate School were moved to help make a difference.
The students read Linda Sue Park’s “A Long Walk to Water,” which tells the true story of Salva Dut, one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan, who was forced to flee his home as a child due to civil war. Dut’s father almost died of Guinea worm disease from contaminated water.
It also tells the fact-based fictional tale of Nya, a young girl who can’t attend school because she has to walk for hours each day to get water for her family’s survival.
Mitchell said that after reading the book, they found Salva Dut’s website and expressed their desire to help. This led them to the Iron Giraffe Challenge. Now in its third year, the Challenge has drawn more than 200 schools from around the world to raise more than $300,000 for Water for South Sudan.
“(The students) wrote a letter to our principal, Mr. (Josh) Kauffman, to persuade him to let them participate in the challenge,” Mitchell said. “He met with the students and then they began their project. They wrote and directed a video, cut out 900 water droplets, and made posters to put around the school.
“They want to make a difference in the lives of others! They are a truly inspiring group of students.”
The community is invited to get involved by donating money to the Challenge. Contributions can be sent to the Piqua Central Iron Giraffe Challenge in care of Josh Kauffman.
“The money is submitted to the district treasurer and he will send an official check to the foundation in March,” Mitchell explained.
For more information about Water for South Sudan, visit www.waterforsouthsudan. org. For details about the Iron Giraffe Challenge, go to the site and click “Teachers and Students” for a drop-down menu.