Walking for Water : A Virtual Challenge for Children too

by Melissa Hicks, Marketing Manager at Jeevika Trust

As the festive season draws ever closer, many of us find ourselves helping our little ones write their letters to Santa with a never-ending list of the latest toys, gizmos and gadgets that they want to wake up to on Christmas morning. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are in comparison to other people living in absolute poverty.

People like the 60 million people in rural India living without access to safe, clean water to drink, cook and clean with. As a mother myself who spent her early parenting days endlessly sterilising bottles, dummies, rattles etc I can’t imagine the anguish mothers in rural India must feel knowing that their only option is to allow their precious children to drink unsafe water. Water that accounts for 21% of all diseases and deaths in India… it’s every parents’ worst nightmare. Sadly for villagers in India this nightmare is their reality, a completely unacceptable reality.

So one evening, as I was clearing away my children’s mountain of toys and emptying beakers of wasted milk, juice and water, it got me thinking… at what age should our children, the future generation with the power to force change, be aware of the plight of others?  We, quite rightly go to huge lengths to protect their innocent minds from the horror stories that make the news headlines almost every day, but should we protect them from knowing about people in desperate need… people that we have the power to help in some small way?

We’re all guilty of spoiling our children from time to time and I’m sure I’m not the only one who takes a simple glass of water for granted, but I believe it is my parental duty to ensure my children are grateful for what they have as well as having compassion for others in need. The trick is to find a way of nurturing this compassion without making them fearful of the world we live in.

That is why the Walking for Water ‘6 Mile Virtual Challenge’ has come at exactly the right time for my 5 year old son, Harry.

So on Sunday 22nd October my son and a group of his friends will be taking on a 6 mile sponsored challenge for Jeevika Trust, to help give more children in India access to safe, clean water that we take for granted every day. Harry will be taking on the challenge by walking, scooting and cycling around a field behind our house – conveniently the farmers field is exactly 1 mile so he will be doing this circuit 6 times on the day.

He may only be 5 years old, and yes 6 miles is a long way BUT he has the heart and compassion of someone much older. He doesn’t fully understand the extent of the poverty in Indian villages, and the horrors that go with it, and in all honesty I am keen to preserve his innocence for a little while longer. But he does understand that the money raised from this 6 mile challenge will go towards restoring reservoirs and building wells to stop women and children having to walk miles every day in extreme heat to fetch water in rural India. And in my opinion that is more than enough for someone his age!

I couldn’t be prouder of Harry for taking on this challenge and I will be there every step of the way showering my amazing, kind hearted and compassionate boy with support, kisses and cuddles for doing something so wonderful for people less fortunate than himself.

So I urge you, if you’re not able to join our Walking for Water event this Sunday then why not consider setting up a virtual 6 mile challenge with your children, pets and anybody else that might be interested. Not only will you be raising money for people who truly need it, but you’ll always be teaching your children to have compassion, gratitude and most importantly teaching them that they have the power to make the world a better place.

Please do visit our Virtual 6 Mile Challenge page to find out more.

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