In water-scarce areas, children are often burdened with walking for water, taking away time from education and hobbies. Children are also more susceptible to dangerous waterborne illnesses – every day, over 700 children die from preventable diarrhoeal diseases caused by a lack of appropriate WASH services, (UNICEF).
So, if water challenges disproportionately affect children, shouldn’t we teach the next generation of global leaders about the water crisis and empower them to join our efforts towards #cleanwaterforall?
That’s why we created Classrooms to Clean Water – a program dedicated to educating students about the water crisis and enabling them to make a difference for kids globally. We help to empower the next generation of leaders through interactive classroom activities, leadership development, and team fundraising activities.
One major opportunity through the Classrooms to Clean Water program is our annual Shower Strike campaign, where young people from around the world participate in raising funds for Well Aware’s clean water projects, enabling students just like them in East Africa to gain the clean water they need to thrive.
Shower Strike is a great opportunity to teach students about global water issues, and then put what they learn into action by helping raise awareness and funds for clean water. We’ve had individual students, whole classes and entire schools get involved — spanning from pre-K all the way to high school.
Classroom Fundraising Success Stories
In Webster City, Iowa, what started as a quirky school project in a second-grade class to learn more about the world, turned into a powerful fundraising campaign that has transformed lives. Since 2012, the Sunset Stinkers have raised over $30,000 for Well Aware’s projects through Shower Strike, providing 2,200 people with clean water for life.
Across the country in Round Rock, Texas, nearly 1,500 students from two middle schools joined Shower Strike in 2019 pledging not to shower until they reached their combined fundraising goal of $6,500. On top of that, the students also participated in a Water Walk where they walked two laps or more holding a 25-liter jerry can to put themselves in the shoes of young people who walk to fetch water daily. By the end of the campaign, they had surpassed and doubled their goal – reaching an amazing $13,000+ raised for clean water.
What Students and Teachers Have to Say
“While the students are raising money for Well Aware, they are also learning about places they have never heard of and people and circumstances they don’t know exist. I feel it is a crucial part of their education to learn that they can give even if they have little and that they can make a difference in our world. My hope is they will carry this into adulthood.” – Dawn, second grade teacher
“Shower Strike was very eye-opening to see how water affects our everyday life and how much we utilize the running water we are blessed with in this country.” – Sarah, high school senior
“I think that it really has taught the kids a lot of empathy and some of the things that they have taken for granted, they’ve realized that kids in other countries don’t have the same luxuries that we have… This is a global issue. This is so much bigger than us.” – Colette, second grade teacher
Since the Classrooms to Clean Water program began, students from across the world have raised over $140,000 – enough to provide more than 9,000 individuals with lasting clean water. In effect, these students have helped improve the lives of children in East Africa and empowered them with the opportunity to stay in school longer.
With clean water, Well Aware has observed that overall education rates in our partner communities increase by 34% on average, and education for girls increases by 58%. Because of the efforts of so many young leaders through the Classrooms to Clean Water program, more students in East Africa are able to spend more time in the classroom, improve their health, practice better hygiene, and get the education they deserve.
How You Can Get Your Students Involved
Shower Strike 2022 is just around the corner – April 20th-26th. Will you join the impact?! Contact us to let us know you’re interested and we’ll work with you to develop the best plan and timeline for your students’ involvement.
Worried about skipping showers? Don’t be! There are many different ways for students to go on strike:
- Military Shower (4 minutes)
- Walk for Water
- Bucket Bath
- Sponge Bath
Any creative idea that reduces the use of water to teach the importance of having access to clean water is welcomed and encouraged! The most important part is raising awareness and raising funds – and, of course, having fun!