Providing clean water to a village in Nepal, one school lunch at a time

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, four Dilworth Rural Campus students have raised enough money to pay for three water pumps in a village in Nepal.

When Noah Bradley, Isaiah Silipa, Fa’u Talanoa and Paula Loni heard about people who didn’t have access to clean water, they knew that they wanted to help. They felt guilty about the fact that they take clean water for granted and knew that they could really make a difference to people in need.

Every year, Dilworth Rural Campus students work on a community TRAIL project. TRAIL is an acronym for what is essentially real-life, inquiry-based learning that deepens understanding through telling, seeing, practicing and transferring. As part of their TRAIL learning, Year 9 students at the Rural Campus are expected to come up with a project idea that benefits the community.

The four boys chatted to their teacher Mrs van Dam who knew about a charity called ‘Hope and Joy Ministries’ who provide practical poverty relief and support to the people of Nepal who are in need. They held a Zoom session with the charity’s Founder, Lisa McKenzie who was thrilled that they wanted to help.

Although the students knew what cause they wanted to support, they were stuck on fundraising ideas. That’s when they convinced their teammate Noah who had recently signed up to make healthy lunches for a local school, to allow them to help and then donate the money they made to Hope and Joy Ministries.

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Isaiah Silipa, Noah Bradley, Paula Loni and Fa’u Talanoa making their school lunches.

Throughout the project, the students learnt a lot, including how to deal with challenges. The biggest one they faced was the impact of COVID-19.

“During the lockdown, we fell behind and when we returned we couldn't make the lunches anymore because of COVID-19 restrictions. So we couldn't run as many lunches as we would have liked to. We found that planning the food and communication was a struggle but Mrs van Dam helped us. It was sometimes hard to stay positive and not argue about who did what,” they said.

Despite the challenges, however, the boys experienced a highlight that they will remember forever.  

“When Lisa McKenzie (Founder of Hope and Joy Ministries) started to cry when we gave her the money for three water pumps, it made me feel happy because everything that we did would make a difference in people's lives. All our hard work paid off,” said Isaiah.

For Paula, a highlight was the fundraising process and making the food. His teammate Fa’u enjoyed meeting Lisa from Hope and Joy Ministries as well as consuming the leftovers from their lunches!

Noah, Isaiah, Fa’u and Paula ended up raising more than $600 which was enough money to install three water pumps in a poverty-stricken village in Nepal. The Founder of Hope and Joy Ministries came to the school to thank the students in person and pick up their donation.

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Paula Loni, Isaiah Silipa, Lisa McKenzie (Hope and Joy Ministries Founder) Noah Bradley, and Fa’u Talanoa 

One thing is for sure, after this experience, the students will never take clean water for granted. 

“We learnt about how people had to go for long, dangerous walks to get water and sometimes the water is dirty or they have to dig with their hands to get to it. Dirty water gives them diseases or they can die. We learnt about how lucky we are to have clean water and how we can just get it from a tap and how for some people, it's a daily struggle for them and there isn't always enough water for them and their families,” said Isaiah.

Fa’u explains further: “We also found out that a school in Nepal has over 100 kids drinking from a dirty puddIe. I feel sad because they probably can't concentrate in class because they are probably too focussed on being thirsty and dehydrated.”

January 20, 2021