Tanzania Development Support (TDS), a non-governmental organization based in DeKalb and co-founded by NIU Department of Public Administration Chair Kurt Thurmaier, is sponsoring its third Walk with Water fundraising event.
The event will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commons on the NIU campus.
It aims to raise funds for construction of a library and community resource center in Nyegina, Tanzania, and give students and NIU community members the opportunity to better understand the hardships faced by people in countries where water is in short supply.
”The clean, safe tap water we take for granted is unimaginable to millions of Tanzanians,” Thurmaier said. “Educating girls and boys is the best investment to help them escape poverty and be able to afford clean drinking water and lead productive lives.”
In some countries, people spend their entire days walking miles to get water. The task is typically assigned to children, most often girls, who walk for water instead of going to school.
TDS volunteers have seen this in Nyegina, where girls, sometimes barefoot, walk along the roadside carrying their yellow containers, large enough to hold four or five gallons. Once the containers are full, the girls balance them on their heads or strap them to their backs. The water is often dirty and contaminated with bacteria, but it’s all that is available.
Participants in the Walk with Water fundraiser will carry clean water, walk on flat terrain and wear shoes. They are asked to complete as many laps around the Commons as possible while carrying up to five gallons of water. Tanzanian men’s shirts and women’s kangas (wrap-around skirts) will be available to all participants to wear while walking.
Individuals and teams raise money for TDS by asking sponsors to donate based on the number of laps completed. Several NIU teams are already planning to participate.
Similar events (see photos) last year on the NIU campus raised several thousand dollars. The money helped purchase materials to start construction of the library and community resource center, which will serve about 2,000 students and village residents in a rural community in northwest Tanzania.
This year’s event at NIU also will feature a bake sale that will take place during the water walk. For more information on upcoming events, visit TDS on Facebook or contact Tricia DeBoo at [email protected] or 815-899-7043