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Students help others get safe water and sanitation

St. Patrick Catholic School students work to provide a well to those in need.

This year students at St. Patrick Catholic School in Arroyo Grande committed to raising enough money to provide a clean water well for other kids in need. During what the school is calling the “Year of Mercy,” students, parents, and teachers are working with local business Water For Good and the non-profit Lifewater to help hundreds of children and families in Africa get safe drinking water and improved sanitation.

Students hope to raise the six thousand dollars needed to complete the water and sanitation project by April 2016. Through the support of Water For Good, a portion of proceeds from water sold at school events will go toward the building water wells. Students also planned special fundraisers that will support the cause.

Worldwide, over 600 million people do not have clean water to drink, and over 2.4 billion people lack improved sanitation, even something as simple as a pit latrine. The lack of water and sanitation leads to the loss of more than 1,600 children under the age of five every day, one each minute.

Lack of access to water and sanitation prevent millions of children, especially girls, from attending school. With access to safe water, latrines, and good hygiene, kids avoid water-borne diseases that would make them miss school. They also spend less time fetching water at long distances and caring for sick family members. In rural sub-Saharan Africa, where water and sanitation coverage is low, fewer than 1 in 4 girls complete primary school. By providing a sustainable safe water source and sanitation to a community in need, the students at St. Patrick school are helping to save lives and enable other children to get an education.

“We are so excited about what the St. Patrick’s students have taken on this year,” says Lifewater General Manager Shaun Russell. “They’ve taken what they’re learning to heart and using their creativity, compassion, and energy to help kids just like them in Africa. They will make a huge impact on the lives of hundreds of children, but they’ll also show themselves what they can do.”

Water For Good, a product of ForGoodCo, a San Luis Obispo-based business, has been helping provide water wells in Africa since 2014 through its philanthropic business model. With the help of Lifewater, a global nonprofit based in San Luis Obispo, each bottle of Water For Good will help one person get safe water for one year. Last year, Lifewater helped over 50,000 people gain access to clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education in Africa and Asia. In 38 years of operation, Lifewater has helped over 2.5 million people in 40 countries.

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Lifewater International is a non-profit Christian water development organization dedicated to effectively serving vulnerable children and families by partnering with underserved communities to overcome water poverty. With experience in more than 40 countries since 1977, Lifewater serves people of all faiths, focusing on contextually appropriate water sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) development. For more information, contact Christine Zurbach (czurbach@lifewater.org) or visit www.lifewater.org. Lifewater International is based in San Luis Obispo, CA.