Local students Emma Reeves and Mia Goldman are working to give the gift of water to girls in Kenya with their upcoming fundraising event with Female Athlete Volunteers (FAV).
The first annual San Diego FAV and Friends Walk for a Well fundraiser will be held on Friday, May 3 at 4 p.m., raising money to build a well in Kenya as well as raise awareness about the trek that many Kenyan women and girls must make daily in order to have clean water and survive.
At the event, participants will experience what that trek is like first-hand—they will start at Hooterville Estates in Del Mar Mesa and walk a half mile to Duck Pond to fill their empty buckets and carry them back to the ranch.
Emma, a senior at Torrey Pines High School and Mia, a freshman at Canyon Crest Academy, are putting on the event as a project for FAV, an organization founded by Torrey Pines alums Sophia LeRose and Kiara McNulty in 2012 when they were seventh graders at Carmel Valley Middle School. The founding members graduated last year but the FAV legacy has continued on and includes over 200 members.
This is Mia’s first year in FAV and Emma has been a member for six years—on the athletic side, Emma is a soccer player and Mia plays field hockey and is a competitive equestrian.
The Del Mar Mesa residents were inspired to take on this project by their neighbor Elizabeth Rabbitt’s frequent trips to Kenya with Maranatha Volunteers International and the stories shared about the work she did building wells and schools.
Rabbitt’s ranch will host the event and she said she was impressed by the girls’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and plan the walk and how they took the time to research and understand their cause.
“It really opened our eyes, we didn’t understand what was going on in the other half of the world,” Mia said. “It surprised me that girls sometimes only five or six years old had to walk three to four miles to get water that for us just comes out of a faucet…You don’t think about it because we live in our bubble.”
According to Maranatha, there are approximately 345 million people without access to safe drinking water in Africa. Most are using water that has been contaminated and, as result, millions of people die each year from a water-related disease.
Nearly all of the women and girls’ time is spent walking miles to fetch water, leaving no time for school, jobs or to create a community or neighborhood, Emma said. FAV girls will carry two-gallon buckets at Walk for Water but sometimes Kenyan girls carry up to five gallons, which Mia and Emma can’t imagine.
“Clean water means people don't have to get sick, mothers no longer have to walk for hours every day and students' education is not interrupted anymore,” Emma said.
Over the years, Maranatha has perfected the art of drilling wells using an off-road water well drilling rig to be able to get to remote locations, Rabbitt said.
“Maranatha's focus is on construction and water wells, leaving behind that which will keep on helping lives for so many years,” said Rabbitt, whose last trip to Kenya was a few months ago building a rescue center and a well that produces 4,000 gallons per hour. “I am so impressed with how they focus and get work done so efficiently with such success.”
Emma and Mia’s goal is to raise $15,000 for Maranatha and each FAV participant is working toward individual fundraising goals.
What Mia has learned through this process has been transformative, she said she is more grateful for the things she takes for granted like access to clean water and plans to go to Africa this summer on a service trip of her own.
“This really is a unique opportunity,” Emma said of the event. “It’s just a little project but it will have such a big impact.”
“Just one person can make such a difference,” Mia said.
To learn more about Walk for Water or donate to the effort, visit give.maranatha.org/team/212332