WALKING FOR WATER: Thousands of students across the world have joined Amman Imman to bring water and other essential services to the Azawak. This partnership has empowered our young “Heroes of Compassion” as socially responsible leaders. Students as little as four have sold rosemary and recipes, others have given up birthday presents in favor of donations, some have written and enacted plays on the Azawak, a few have run half-marathons, and still others have held “Guerwul ceremonies”, copying the male beauty pageants held by the Fulani. After 12 years of partnering by our side, many of our students have observed their friends evolve from children living in camps, to settling (at least part-time) near their borehole, to attending school and growing school gardens, to now being mothers and fathers with their own children. Most importantly, they have witnessed first-hand child mortality go from almost 50% to less than 15% today. As a uniting event for students across the world, students and schools have held Walks for Water over the past 10 years. These walks have become cultural festivals where children and their families learn about the indigenous populations of the Azawak; how they live, their artifacts, their food and culture. Students write letters and make jewelry for our schoolchildren in the Azawak, and in return, our schools in Niger share letters and messages to our Heroes of Compassion. Our Walks and other activities become true exchanges of friendship, uniting us as people of humanity.
Photo 1: Walk for Water 2010. Our Associate Director and Wells of Love founder, Debbie Kahn is leading the way. I was thrilled to walk alongside my son, Fassely (2 at the time) and students from Montessori schools in the DC/Maryland area.
Photo 2: Walk for Water at JFK High School in MD in 2015. I am standing behind the banner with my husband, Denis, and our sons Soriya and Fassely (I was pregnant with Indima). Fashion designer, Alfadi, and Her Excellency Professor Hassana Alidou, Niger's ambassador to the USA, are standing with us.
Photo 3: Student hula-hoops during an Amman-Athon at Five Oaks Academy.
Photo 4: Kijigari student receives a friendship bracelet.