In the land of 100,000 lakes, it can be a challenge to relate to water scarcity. Raising awareness—and money—for the global issue was the intent of a Lenten project at Holy Cross High School.
The project involved raising money for manual water pumps that will be used by farmers in northern Haiti who have been affected by drought and climate change. The pumps will be distributed by IRATAM, a Development and Peace partner. This organization supports farmers by teaching agricultural techniques that are adapted to the challenges these farmers face.
“During Lent, we created an initiative that would take our students beyond our local situation," said Michelle Dinter-Lipinski, a teacher at Holy Cross. “We wanted students to place themselves in the shoes of others in a region of the world where need is great.”
To kick things off, students and staff were educated about the issues Haitians face through morning devotions and daily announcements. Colourful pails were then delivered to each class and, over the next two weeks, students were encouraged to donate.
“We didn’t know what to expect, so we started with a goal of $1 per student,” said Tom Saretsky, teacher-chaplain at Holy Cross. (There are about 1,300 students at the school) “The collection total was announced each day with lots of encouragement to 'go higher'!” A visual display at the front entrance of the school kept a tally of money raised and how many pumps that would fund.
Higher the total went! In total, $6,076 —enough for 30 pumps—was raised. This was done in a time when only half of the students are in the building on any given day.
Dinter-Lipinski said, “The project was about empathy and solidarity. We are so proud of our students and staff who so generously contributed to the success of the initiative.”