By CARRIE HALPERIN
A year ago, ABC News’ Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Richard Besser reported on a group of students at H.B. Woodlawn High School in Arlington,Virginia, who made a pledge to help students in Bangladesh through an organization called H20 for Life.
H20 for Life connects schools in America with schools in developing countries, to raise money for clean water projects and bathrooms facilities. The organization also provides teachers with a curriculum for children in the U.S. to learn about the water crises in the developing world, and what it’s like for children in more than half of all schools in the developing world who don’t have access to proper sanitation.
“The students get really excited about funding water projects,” said H20 for Life’s Val Johnson. “To do this, classrooms in the US come up with creative ways to raise money, such as walks, bake sales, or even selling handmade items.”
Students who participate in the H20 for Life program learn that without access to latrines, girls stop attending school once they start menstruation. Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease. And, worldwide, 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation.
The challenge for the high school students in Virginia was to raise $14,000 to help buy proper hand-washing stations and toilets for a school in Bangladesh, which had only two toilets to accommodate 500 students — with no running water.
Earlier this year, the Virginia students held a 5k to raise funds for their partner school, along with a bake sale, and school dance. All their hard work paid off; they reached the goal and fully funded the project in Bangladesh.
In the four years since H20 for Life was founded, students have raised over $1 million for water projects in 16 countries throughout Asia, Central America, and Africa.
ABC News caught up with the school in Bangladesh during the groundbreaking of their new facilities. The students there left a simple message for the children in America.
FIND OUT MORE:
To learn about H20 for Life, sign up at H20 for Life. Check out their site to donate funds to the 105 partner projects, or to partner your classroom with a school in need around the world check out H20 for Life.