Across all eighth grade ELA Classes at Bernardo Yorba Middle School, students had the opportunity to read and analyze the novel “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, based on a true story about Salva Dut, a teenage boy living in Southern Sudan.
Salva Dut is among one of the 3,800 Sudanese “Lost Boys” to survive the Sudanese Civil War. He led a group of 1,500 boys to safety during the war. After coming to the United States and getting an education, he decided to make a change for the villages of Southern Sudan and help individuals gain access to clean water. Later, he established a foundation that works to install clean water wells that still continues to this day.
In 2003, Salva created Water for South Sudan (WFSS), a website based in Rochester, NY. Its mission is to provide clean and safe water to the Southern Sudan people. They strive to make people’s lives better by drilling clean water wells.
According to Guide Star, “… WFSS has now drilled over 500 wells since 2005, rehabilitated 215 older wells, and continues to provide hygiene education training in every village we serve. In 2018, we completed the sanitation program and latrine installation at the Zogolona Primary School in Wau.”
Clean water can improve health, expand learning, and create growth. On the WFSS website, Akit Ariik Theorist mentioned that, before the water wells were drilled, she was traveling long distances to search for water – which took her many perilous hours to get back home. With water close by now, “My cattle will get water from the nearby well, which I also encountered as a great help from Water for South Sudan.”
According to the WFSS donation page, a water pump for one well cost just fifty-five dollars, and that one well can have an enormous impact on South Sudan people.
To help more people like Salva, donate by check, fundraising, gift of stock, legacy gifts, or have a wedding registry on the donation website.
As for advice to all, Salva Dut says, “With hope, faith, and perseverance, you can accomplish anything. I urge you to just keep walking and when you fall, remember me.”
This article originally appeared in The Matador Messenger