The combined fundraising efforts of three student groups at Dublin Coffman High School helped make it possible for a village in the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland, in Africa) to access clean drinking water.

Students from Coffman's student council, environmental club and clean water club held multiple fundraisers last school year while working with a nonprofit organization, the Thirst Project, raising more than $7,000 for the construction of a well.

Students in the clean water club were the ones who initially introduced the project to everyone, said Maddy Mayr, a 17-year-old senior who is a student council member and co-president of the environmental club.

"Having access to clean water is the foundation for prospering in all other aspects of life," Mayr said.

Each of the clubs carried out its own fundraising.

Mia Citino, a 16-year-old senior and member of all three student groups, said the student council raised money as part of its annual dodgeball tournament. The clean water club worked with Chipotle restaurants to raise funds.

The environmental club held a fundraiser with Zest Juice Co., said Isha Das, a 17-year-old senior, water club member and co-president of the environmental club.

A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of a special smoothie called "Rocks Give Back" went toward the water project, Das said.

Every semester, the Thirst Project sends guest speakers to schools to educate students about the water crisis, said Kellen Brewer, a student activation coordinator with the nonprofit group. Students raise funds and the money goes to Thirst Project to implement water projects such as fresh water wells, he said.

The Thirst Project acts as an intermediary, Brewer said, working with local drilling companies to complete the projects.

The Thirst Project is active in five countries, he said. They are the Kingdom of Eswatini, Kenya, Uganda, India and El Salvador.

The organization works with the local government and has country directors in each of the five nations to assess need, Brewer said.

The well in Eswatini is estimated to cost $12,000, he said, so funds raised by a student group in Los Angeles also went toward the project.

The well is expected to be finished in September, Brewer said, and representatives from Thirst Project will also work with the local community to educate them about sanitation, hygiene and well maintenance.

In about three to four months, Thirst Project will send a thank you video from the village to Coffman students, Brewer said.

Many communities in developing countries are far away from water sources, Brewer said.

"Life truly can't happen without access to clean water," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

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