Over 100 school children from eight schools in East and West Yorkshire carried buckets loaded with water from Leeds to Kirkstall Abbey on Friday in CAFOD’s WalkwithWater to mark World Water Day.
The two mile journey along the Leeds-Liverpool canal was in solidarity with people in poorer communities in Africa who have to travel long distances in rough terrain to find water safe enough to drink.
By raising awareness through action, the children gave thought to their brothers and sisters in Africa who could be the same age but face this struggle daily.
Ben Oldham from CAFOD in Leeds started the group off by saying: “We are gathered today, during Lent, to mark world water day. We are gathered as an act of solidarity with boys and girls, men and women, people just like us, who were born into a country where water doesn’t flow out of the taps and food isn’t always on their table.
We are gathered because we believe it’s not ok that there is enough food for everyone in the world but 1 in 8 people go to bed hungry every day.
Today we are asking you to dig deep within yourselves, to play your part, in helping to build a fairer world where no one has to live in hunger and everyone is able to become the best they can be.
Water is an important part in providing food for people. Without water plants and crops won’t grow. Without water children can’t go to school. Without water people can’t flourish.
Thousands of people have to travel miles on foot every day to collect water. They have wake up at the crack of dawn and walk miles to the nearest well, borehole or river. They have to carry the water in buckets likes these and bring it back for their families, for their animals, and for their plants and crops.
Today we are asking you to walk in solidarity with those people by carrying a bucket of water all the way to the abbey. It’s really important that we all take turns in carrying the water, sharing the burden together. It important that we keep the water safe.”
Alice, age 14 from St Mary’s Catholic High School, Menston said: “This gives you a dose of reality as you realise just how much people in some communities would value this small amount of water.
“Experiencing this as a community, learning about other people, has taught me not to take for granted what we have and emphasises the hardship some people face every day.”
Now in its fourth year, the WalkwithWater encourages the children to consider others less fortunate when we turn on the tap. After almost two hours of walking they said how difficult even a small amount of water is to carry.
Ayat, age 12 from St Joseph’s Catholic College Bradford, said: “Carrying water is really hard and I’m wondering how people in poorer countries manage to do it for miles every day, especially if they’re younger than me.”