By Adam Aasen
It’s something we often take for granted here in the United States, but almost a billion people don’t have it. And Carmel High School students want to ensure third world countries have access to it.
The local chapter of The Thirst Project, a worldwide organization founded by a fellow Hoosier, will host a fundraiser on March 22 to help build wells and provide clean drinking water to impoverished nations.
The event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Carmel Gazebo near City Hall and will feature a two-mile community dog walk along the Monon Trail. The event is free but a $5 donation is appreciated.
“We talked about doing a 5K, but so many people do that,” said Claudia Benz, a senior at CHS and founder of the school’s club. “We thought so many people have dogs here in Carmel that it might be a fun way to get people involved.”
Last year Benz was inspired to start her local chapter after seeing The Thirst Project founder Seth Maxwell give a speech at her church.
Maxwell, 26, found his inspiration after graduating from Franklin Central High School. He met a friend for coffee who was going on about her humanitarian trip to Uganda. She told him about the water crisis. About 4,400 children die every day from diseases caused by contaminated water. He said he had to act.
“I really believe clean water is a human right,” he said. “This is a problem we can solve. We don’t have to do research to find the cure for a disease. We know what to do. We can make a difference.”
Maxwell grew his organization to 320 school chapters, totaling about 300,000 volunteers. They collected more than $8 million to bring safe water to about 280,000 people in 12 countries.
Kara House, faculty sponsor for the CHS chapter, was also Maxwell’s science teacher at Franklin Central. She said she’s amazed by the commitment these young people have to helping others.
“It is really all them,” she said. “They are some of the most motivated people I have ever met.”
Maxwell said he wants students to know that this is a cause you can get involved in right now.
“You don’t have to wait until you’re older,” he said. “The world needs you now.”
For more information visit the www.thirstproject.org.