Fundraising and education efforts in the Diocese of Huron are providing a vivid example of how young Anglicans can support the ongoing Right to Water initiative of the National Youth Project (NYP).
From 2012 to 2016, the NYP is seeking to raise $20,000 to deliver potable drinking water and wastewater facilities to one home in the isolated northern community of Pikangikum, Ont.—part of a larger initiative by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund to equip 10 homes in this manner. It also hopes to raise awareness of water issues generally.
In the Diocese of Huron, many young people who are fundraising to attend the 2016 Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth Gathering—the event that bookends the NYP—are pledging to donate 10 per cent to the Right to Water initiative.
“I think our youth are becoming more aware of the fact that water is not just a crisis in other places,” said the Rev. Sharla Malliff, diocesan youth chaplain and assistant curate at the Holy Saviour and All Saints Churches.
“When you think about water issues, you think about places like Africa and its lack of water and the situation there, but [youth] don’t often think about [it] in their own country…I think as they learn about it, the kids generally want to make a difference,” she added.
“Our students always want to save the world…Let’s empower them to do that.”
In the Deanery of Essex, which last year took on the NYP as its fundraiser event, young Anglicans and their families raised almost $300 for the project last May through their participation in a fundraising bike ride, which is likely to take place again this year.
The deanery also collected donations over the holiday season through a project in which people would pledge dollar amounts for empty water bottles that would then be turned into Christmas decorations.
The Rev. Paul Poolton, rector of St. Stephen’s and Church of the Redeemer and chair of the diocesan youth committee, has a personal connection with the Right to Water concept, having been present in the town of Walkerton, Ont., during the 2000 crisis in which the local water supply was contaminated by E. coli bacteria.
“The right to have clean, safe drinking water has always been very, very important to me since then…When I found out that the National Youth Project was the Right to Water [initiative], I engaged with that immediately,” Poolton said.
Along with fundraising, education has been a major focus for diocesan youth taking part in the NYP.
The diocesan youth committee is currently looking at using the water Bible studies available through justgeneration.ca as a tool to help raise awareness of water issues and to brainstorm ideas for future events.
During the fundraising bike ride, Poolton facilitated an education component offering information on Pikangikum and water issues.
Meanwhile, the Right to Water initiative was the focus of the diocesan youth conference in 2013.
“The more educated you become about the National Youth Project, the more you will find a natural engagement to it,” Poolton said.
“If we educate ourselves…around the issues, we can’t help as a gospel people [but] to engage in the work of the National Youth Project.”
Learn more about the National Youth Project and how you can get involved.
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