South Helps South Sudan

From Service Project to Transformation

The 5th grade class at South Elementary School in Midland, Texas was encouraged by the school district to get involved in a service project. What transpired over a few months during their spring semester is what their 5th-grade teacher and project leader, Lesley Stigall, calls transformational.

A Movie, a Book, and a Jerry Can

Lesley introduced the 5th graders to their service project by showing them Water is Basic’s award-winning film RU: Water is Life.  They then read the book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The class discussed how partnering with Water is Basic to drill water wells in South Sudan not only brings water to those in need but allows younger children opportunities, such as getting an education, that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Once they committed to raising money for clean water in South Sudan, the students began to walk around the school with a partially-filled jerrycan. Lesley said that as the students took on this project, she immediately started to see a difference in their behavior in the classroom. Simply put, she said this project has permanently transformed her students, as they now understand that we are all one people working together for the good of others.

Telling their Story to Others in Midland, Texas

Once the students decided to raise funds for clean water, they needed a way to tell their story and get donations coming in. Every 5th-grade student wrote a personal letter summarizing their project and goals, and then these letters (with pictures of each student) were circulated into the community of Midland, Texas. Water is Basic also created a fundraising page on their website where donations could be made, and this combined approach raised over $3,500.

The school bulletin board was full of thank you letters from those who donated to this project. The letters thank the students for asking them to be involved and praise them for thinking of other children who need clean water and a chance at an education just like they have at South Elementary School.

Start a Project of your Own

Read more about the South Elementary project in the Midland Reporter here.

If you would like to start your own fundraiser, click GET INVOLVED on our homepage and choose, CREATE YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER or click here

Contact: Doug Fair,