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SF District High Schools Team Up to Provide Twin Schools Clean Water


Several Lasallian high schools in California worked together on a fundraiser to support clean water initiatives for students and families of two Lasallian twin schools in Ethiopia.

Justin-Siena High School in Napa, La Salle High School in Pasadena, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco and Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento took part in the second annual Change for Our World Campaign to benefit St. Joseph’s School in Nazareth and St. Joseph’s School in Addis Ababa. The Lenten fundraiser brought in approximately $20,000 which will fund two wells for the schools.

St. Joseph’s Addis Ababa started the process of drilling a well last year, but had to stop because of the cost. “The question is not to have clean water but to have enough, affordable, and continuously available water for washing, cleaning the toilets, and when possible to water the green areas so as to reduce pollution and prevent the dust from causing health hazards to the school community,” said principal Demisse Aragay.

St. Joseph’s in Nazareth needs a water tanker not only to accommodate students now, but also to supply water for the new building that is planned because the school does not have access to an adequate water supply. “The water supply at night is better than at daytime when all the people are active. It is because of the expansions and population increase of our town,” said headmaster Brother Retta Gezmu. “We have only one small water tanker that accumulates basically enough water for one family.”

The idea to address water needs originated at the Lasallian Student Leadership Conference, an annual weeklong event held in July at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, during a social justice presentation about clean water.

“One reason why I think Change for Our World is so successful is that it unites the schools around a common issue that benefits a specific need of our twin schools in Africa,” said Justin-Siena senior Meghan Gallagher. “That way we can create the campaign with direction and focus on a certain topic, and consequently promote understanding and awareness around that need.”

The Change for Our World fundraiser started in 2011 in response to the Lasallian Convocation on the Rights of the Child that took place at the United Nations in April 2010. Last year’s campaign brought in about $25,000 which was used to buy 3,300 mosquito nets for five Lasallian twin schools in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Kenya.