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HOME | MULTIMEDIA / PRESS | press releases | may 16, 2009

Press Release: May 16, 2009

LOCAL MONTESSORI STUDENTS "WALK FOR WATER" TO BENEFIT NIGERIEN FAMILIES

DERWOOD, MD (May 16, 2009) — More than 150 students from local Montessori schools will walk around the perimeter of Rock Creek Park’s Lake Frank, in hopes of raising money and awareness for a program which seeks to lessen the marathon journey—which can be a stifling 35 miles roundtrip—that children in the Azawak region of Niger must face each time they and their families need a cup of water to drink.

Sponsored by Honest Tea, Mom’s Organic Market and Signs by Tomorrow, the third annual Walk for Water will be held on May 16, starting at 10 a.m. Although the walk will be only be a fraction of the distance that children in Niger’s desert must journey for water, the event will symbolize solidarity with the Nigerien children to the students who have been learning about the children of the Azawak in their classes.

Each participant will raise funds to benefit Amman Imman, a program which drills borehole wells—to depths as far as 3,000 feet below the Earth’s surface—for the people living in the Azawak.

Sponsored in part by money raised through the first and second annual Walk for Waters, Amman Imman drilled its first borehole well in 2007. The structure provides water for 25,000 people and their animals. The project is now poised to drill its second borehole in the Azawak’s Kijigari Village. This year’s walk will support Kijigari’s borehole.

The focus of involving students in A Walk for Water is to bring them together in the spirit of collaboration to make a positive change in the world,” said Debra Kahn, associate director of the Oneness Family School, in Chevy Chase, Md. and organizer of the walk. “The Amman Imman project appeals to their natural desire to help humanity and to reach out to children who are just like them, yet have a lot less.”

Helping Amman Imman has been incorporated into the curricula of near 50 Montessori schools worldwide, several of which are in the D.C. area. Earlier in the month, the Oneness-Family School held an Amman-a-thon, where children shot baskets, jumped rope, did jumping jacks and dribbled basketballs to incorporate a philanthropic spirit with an interest for physical education. A week prior to the Oneness Family School’s Walk for Water, the Boyd School’s six Virginia campuses held their own Walk in Chantilly, Va.

Extreme poverty coupled with a warming climate has made life in the Azawak increasingly difficult. Currently, the majority of the 500,000 people living in the Azawak have no water for nine months out of the year due to a lengthening draught. During the two to three months that they do have water, it is brackish, brown and thick with mud, dirtied by the people and animals which bathe in the marshes. With no schools, health centers or roads nearby, the Azawak is largely abandoned by the outside world.

Ariane Kirtley, founder and director of Amman Imman, hopes that by drilling more boreholes, Amman Imman will act as an impetus to change all of this. “Until there is a permanent and sustainable flow of water in the region, no organization will come to the Azawak,” she said. “I hope that our work will serve as a catalyst for humanitarian organizations to bring much-needed developmental aid, such food aid, health care, education and gender equity to the region.”

Participating D.C., Maryland and Virginia schools in the Amman Imman Montessori project include: The Oneness-Family School, Chevy Chase, Md.; The Barrie School, Silver Spring, Md..; Aidan Montessori, Washington, D.C.; Boyd School, Va.; Henson Valley Montessori School, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Odyssey Montessori, Fredericksburg, Va.; Robert Goddard Public Montessori School, Seabrook, Md., Evergreen School, Silver Spring, Md.; Love of Learning Montessori, Columbia, Md.; and other locations.

Program Amman Imman is a Washington, D.C.-based program, http://www.waterishope.org. For more information on Amman Imman’s collaboration with schools, visit: http://montessori-amman-imman-project.blogspot.com/

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