Year 5 student’s plan raises thousands

Instead of giving up chocolate or video games, one student at Villa Maria Catholic Primary School Hunters Hill decided to honour Lent by rallying her classmates and raising funds for those in need.

Year 5’s Rose Butler designed a school-based fundraiser in which students were sponsored to imitate the journey many children overseas take to reach safe drinking water, and raised thousands of dollars to help fix the issue.

Year 5 children walked a 2km loop around their local area carrying buckets of water, and were given only plain rice to re-fuel afterwards during recess. As a year group they raised $2,250 for Project Compassion, Caritas’s Lenten appeal, and the school plans to repeat the fundraiser in 2020.

I knew as a class we could raise awareness for those who experience water scarcity

– Rose Butler

Students found a video played at the beginning of their fundraiser – which detailed that many African villages only have one tap – particularly motivating as their homes had up to 20.

“Lent is a time of almsgiving, a time of growing and becoming a better person,” Rose said.

“My mum suggested that I think of a way of raising money for Caritas instead of giving something up this year. I went onto the Caritas website and I knew as a class we could raise awareness for those who experience water scarcity and I realised how lucky we are.”

“This challenge was a way to make us grow spiritually and give help to the less fortunate.”

Project Compassion is an initiative many Sydney Catholic Schools support. In the past students have created a poster from donated coins, sold sweet treats, and much more.

Teacher and organiser Kelly Pisani said her school was particularly proud of this fundraiser because it educated children about inequality and engaged them in a student-led solution.

“Villa Maria is a school that always encourages the students to think creatively and come up with new ways of solving problems,” she said.

“This new way of raising money for Caritas at the same time as giving the students an opportunity to experience a small part of the life of a child in a developing country was an idea too good to pass up.”

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