Help Water for South Sudan!

The Need

What comes to mind when you think of water? A sandy beach, with waves pushing ever so gently into the shore? Maybe a glass of chilled water with a slight taste of lemon? But did you think of aching muscles, broiling sand, sweltering heat, and hours upon hours of walking per day? That's because you don't live in the sad realities of villages in South Sudan, where women and children slave during the day to get barely enough water to survive. This is caused by two extreme seasons, a dry season and a wet season. During South Sudan’s wet season, there is enough water, but it’s still a long walk to get to water. But during South Sudan’s dry season, most of the bodies of water dry up, leaving the people of South Sudan with no water source. In addition, temperatures can reach up to 120ºF. As a result, the people of South Sudan are forced to move nearer to a larger body of water, in hopes that there will be just enough water to survive until the wet season comes around. The water they find, though, isn't crystal clean, like a diamond, but yellow and muddy, disease ridden and full of parasites. This water, not only gives life, but also takes it away. One common parasite in this type of water is the Guinea worm. The Guinea worm crawls through the human body, eating everything in its path, only to come out a year later, causing excruciating pain to the victim and damaging the body. An additional problem is that most South Sudanese have bad hygiene because they are too poor, averagely getting a salary of less than $1 a day, to buy products that would help them improve their hygiene. A reliable source of clean water can change all that. When one has a reliable source of water, markets and schools can be permanently established. A market gives the weak economy a boost, and the school allows kids to have a chance to get a job and succeed in life. All this can happen because of one well.

South Sudan

In 1930, the British who ruled Sudan issued a decree, which divided Sudan into Southern and Northern regions, because of the differences in religion and language between the inhabitants. Sixteen years later (1946), Sudan was again united into one country yet in 1955 a major civil war started between south and north. Sudan was granted its independence soon after (1956) but that didn’t stop the division between south and north. As a result a second civil war began (1983), which would last 22 years, until the Naivasha Agreement was signed in 2005. There were several causes for this civil war. The main cause was the violation of the Addis Ababa agreement signed in 1972. This agreement established the South Sudan Autonomous Region. When oil was discovered on the border between Sudan and the Autonomous State of South Sudan (1978), the central ruling government of Sudan moved the borders south therefore attempting to take over the oil. This plan would have caused a huge drop in South Sudanese economy as 70% of their exports was oil. The civil war displaced 4 million people, and killed 2 million people. Most of the people who died weren’t soldiers though, but civilians who has lost their homes, and thus lost their reliable sources of food and water. Those people often died of dehydration or starvation. Among the people displaced was Salva Dut.

Salva Dut

Image of Salva Dut AriikSalva Dut was born in Loun-Ariik in present day South Sudan. At the age of 11, while at school, he heard gunshots. He turned around and looked out the window only to see his village being attacked. He fled away from his village, into the bush, leaving his home behind him. Several grueling months later, after crossing the Akobo Desert and seeing his uncle die before his eyes, Salva reached the Itang refugee camp, in Ethiopia, where he stayed for 6 long years. After the camp closed, he, at the age of 18, led 1,500 “lost boys”, boys who didn’t have a home or a family, to Kenya. He first made his home in the Kakuma refugee camp, but left for another refugee camp, Ifo, soon after as the conditions in Kakuma were horrible. From Ifo, he was sent to the US in 1996 as an adopted child, and began a new life. When his cousin sent him an email saying that his father was alive, but very sick in a UN clinic, Salva immediately left for South Sudan. He learned that his father got sick from waterborne parasites called guinea worms. Salva decided to help his father and his village of Loun-Ariik and build them a well. He then created a non-profit organization called Water for South Sudan that drills wells for South Sudanese in need.

Water for South Sudan

WFSS or Water for South Sudan is an organization that helps the villages of South Sudan by digging wells for them and thus providing a clean, reliable source of water. WFSS was created by Salva Dut, who decided to help his country, starting with the village he was born and raised in. Since WFSS was created as a non-profit organization in 2003, it has dug 282 wells for South Sudanese in desperate need. Although WFSS main mission is to provide clean, safe water in areas of great need, WFSS also wants to show the villagers that they can change their own lives. WFSS’s agreement with the villages is that if WFSS digs a well, the villagers must build and run a working school. The school strengthens the chances in life of kids from the villages, and allows the villagers to help their kids without outside intervention. WFSS brings hope and life to everywhere it digs. But this amazing organization needs support and you can give it. If each person in Concord would donate $0.85, we could fund a whole well just by ourselves. Please donate for WFSS, it’s a worthy cause.

About Us

Last year, the 7th graders of Concord Middle School, MA, read a book, A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park. This book tells the story of Salva Dut Ariik (see more here). The 7th graders were inspired and worked throughout the year to get donations for Salva's Project, WFSS. They succeeded getting $25,000, which is almost enough to fund two wells. As current 7th graders, we hope to top that sum and, to succeed, we need your support. Please donate by clicking the donate button in the top right corner. This button will lead you to the official site for WFSS, where you can submit your donation. Thank you for your help.

Hungry kids in South Sudan