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,

Clean water = opportunity

“A pilot!” That’s what Sida exclaimed without hesitation when asked what she’d like to be one day. One has to wonder what Sida’s baby sister, Betty, (strapped to Sida’s back) will dream to be.

Ask any child around the world what they want to be when they grow up, and most will light up as they shout out similar answers: Doctor! Teacher! Singer! Pilot!

The dreams of children in South Sudan are no different, but they are harder to attain than most.

The first born in her family, Sida’s responsibility is to fetch water each day. It takes five jerry cans a day to meet the needs of her family. A full jerry can weighs an average of 42 pounds.

When asked how she manages to carry five jerry cans on her own, she said she carries two jerry cans 5 steps, puts them down, goes back to bring two more, and then returns for the 5th jerry can. Five steps at-a-time, over-and-over, every day. This was her routine for over a mile each day as she passed the broken well in her village to reach the closest working well.

Just across the street is Yei Vocational Training School. When there is access to clean water in her village, Sida has time to do her daily chores and attend school. A broken well in her village means there is no time for school for Sida.

Because of collaborative efforts between our donors and our hard-working local water team, the well in Sida’s community has been restored. Clean water is more than basic. It creates opportunities for children like Sida, and one day, even Betty, to receive an education and realizing their dreams.

This month we’re celebrating our 10-year anniversary and bringing water over 1 million people. As we. As we gear up for another decade of service, we invite you to invest in the lives of people like Sida and Betty.

Through our #QUENCH campaign, we’re raising funds needed to refurbish and purchase equipment needed to enable us to bring clean water to the people of South Sudan for another decade.

If we raise $130,000 by July 28, 2018, we can continue repairing one well a day and get back to drilling new boreholes again.

You can be a part of the story. With your help, we can #QUENCH the thirst of the people of South Sudan for another decade to come.  

Your gift will ensure girls like Sida and Betty can attend school and achieve their dreams. Make your donation today!


We Don't Give up

We Don't Give up

We met with Ambassadors, flew in a contingent from Rumbek to hammer out peace in West Lakes State, and helped launch a business training program for women, and along with our local team, surveyed 16 wells to be restored. This is real #waterismore action, and it happens to come as we gear up for the 10th anniversary of our very first well on July 28th!

I am Tired

I am Tired

Our investigation led us to groups of folks, literally fresh off the truck. They told us that people are waiting at the border for any transport that will bring them home. If they can get here, Doctors Without Borders is waiting to provide a bucket with 8 basic items, a “welcome package” including two blankets, pots, matches, a sewing kit, rope, a tarp to sleep under, and a plastic container to hold water. A basic survival kit turned into a housewarming gift…except there is no house.

12 jerry cans


Before the conflict hit their area over a year ago, Rose and her household of 10 were retrieving water from their village well that ran on electricity. When the crisis hit, the power went out. There was no fuel to run the generator and so the well was useless.

Imagine caring for 10 people under your roof without the ability to provide the basics of water.

Rose owns 12 jerry cans that she and her family fill twice daily. With the well broken, the closest water source was over a mile from her home. Often that walk was not safe so they would need to go into town where they would have to pay 7 South Sudan Pounds per jerry can (about a nickel). That's money that could have been spent instead on food and other basic needs. By the way, a nickel multiplied by 24 (filling 12 jerry cans two times) is $1.20. That's more than the average person in South Sudan has in TOTAL to live on each day.


Rose's home is by the roadside, so often people would stop by her house for water. Just like we are willing to share a cup of sugar with our neighbors, Rose is happy to share water with hers. And in times of crisis, community members are dependent on one another. So of course, you share what you have.

This well was completely restored at the beginning of December and water now flows with ease by the hand pump that was installed.

On the day this well was reopened, jerry cans were lined up. People were excited, ready and waiting. Our team will never forget the cries of joy as clean water was pumped into the jerry cans.

There will be more time for education and work.

There will be more money for food.

There will be more life.

Water is More

Lining Up is a daily task

Lining Up is a daily task



I'll Never Be The Same

I'll Never Be The Same

Almost equally inspiring have been the faces of communities gathering around well heads once the well is functioning. A well head is something akin to our water cooler except by a multiple that is indescribable.  Wells not only provide health for the body, but for the community and the collective soul.  Dozens of locals gather around well sites and do what locals do when they gather.  In a nation ravaged by war, this is a strong first step to raising the likelihood of peace.