Drink water to save lives

Children gather around a water source in Rwanda. The Wells Project challenge calls for 10 days of saving money on beverages by opting for water. Baylor students have raised $2,500 so far this year.
Courtesy Photo

Wells project proceeds to fund wells in Rwanda

By Anna Flagg

More than 884 million people lack clean drinking water, and Baylor joined forces with college campuses across the nation to decrease that number through the Wells Project challenge 10 Days.

The campaign ended on Wednesday after college students across the country chose water as their only beverage for 10 days. Students participating in the challenge were encouraged to donate money Thursday, the day after the campaign ended.

The money donated will be used to build 10 clean water wells in Rwanda. The Wells Project partners with Living Water International, a nonprofit out of Houston that will actually drill the 10 wells in Rwanda.

$2,500 has been raised at Baylor to date with donations ongoing.

An alumnus supporting the organization has agreed to match all gifts given up to $2,500. The national goal is for students to raise $100,000.

The project at Baylor began when Nashville senior Dustin Williams and some of his friends learned about the number of people who do not have clean water. Williams signed up to receive a free bracelet on the Living Water International website and instead received an email from a university coordinator.

“We talked for an hour and discussed the possibility of starting the Wells Project at Baylor,” Williams said. “I had felt for a while that God was calling me to start something at Baylor, but I just didn’t know what it was.”

Williams founded the organization in 2010. He said it was founded with the hope it would be an organization of action.

“Our mission is to empower students to make a difference in the water crisis,” Williams said. “This campaign shows students they can actually make a difference instead of feeling demobilized when overwhelmed by the amount of need in the world.”

The 2011 10 Days campaign was events-driven, and the leadership team hoped to provide easier and better opportunities for people to get involved and donate compared to last year’s campaign. The main goal was to make students aware of the chance to give people clean water and to get them excited about fundraising. Events included a Phil Wickham concert, a pancake night in the Brooks College quad, a Three Spoons profit share, a documentary viewing and a worship night in the Bill Daniel Student Center.

The 10 Days campaign began at Texas A&M University in 2007, when a group of college students learned about the water crisis. Motivated by faith and a longing for change, the students developed The Wells Project student organization, which now exists on almost 20 campuses.

Senior Margaret Marks founded The Wells Project this year at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.

“Pepperdine has encouraged my passion for social justice, and I was excited to bring my peers a new opportunity to get involved in making a global impact,” Marks said.

10 Days happens once a year, and more than 50 schools participate at some level.

Senior Valerie Whitt, president of Texas A&M’s chapter, traveled to Guatemala last year with Living Water International and witnessed the results of college students’ giving.

“I wish I could explain the kids’ faces when the first flows of clean water came out of the pump,” Whitt said. “Clean water literally changed the community.”

For more information about the Wells Project and how to donate visit, https://www.water.cc/give/10days