H2O Project organizes 5K to build wells in Liberia
Jessica Bendzick/ Winonan
Around 780 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, and H20 Project is striving to put an end to this thirst.
This Sunday, Winona State University H2O Project is hosting a 5K road race to raise money to bring community-owned wells to Liberia, Africa. Funds from participants of the 5K will help deliver the money necessary to dig wells and provide clean drinking water to countries in Africa.
Winona State students Leah Koehler and Paige Lilienthal are helping host the event.
This is Lilienthal’s first year as a part of the H2O Project.
Lilienthall said,“I was so excited when I learned about the opportunity to partner with ‘Live Life Liberia’ in order to bring people in Africa clean water.”
Koehler, a junior, has helped with the project since her freshman year.
As a student-athlete, she helped out with Winona State’s 48-hour practice her freshman year.
For the practice, the H2O Project partnered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and student-athletes from Winona State to raise money for building wells in Liberia.
In past four years, Winona State student-athletes have helped raise about $10,000 with $2,500 raised each year.
Koehler also held a garage sale the summer before her sophomore year, and she raised around $500 for the H2O Project.
Koehler said, “It really hit me that I had so many extra things that I didn’t need, while there were people halfway around the world with no ability to gain access to clean water.”
The H2O project started five years ago by Pleasant Valley Church college pastor Brandon Zieske. He wanted to develop a long-term social justice project with the college ministry, so he got the idea of digging wells for in-need countries. Around the same time, David Kiamu, a man from Liberia, Africa, was visiting Pleasant Valley Church and talked about the great need for wells in Liberia.
After talking with Kiamu, Zieske discovered it would be relatively cheap to dig wells in Liberia. The wells idea appealed to Zieske because he knew college students would be able to see the immediate impact.
So, the H2O College Ministries and Live Life Liberia teamed up for the cause. Over the past five years, the H2O project has raised money to build around 15 wells in Liberia.
Each well costs anywhere from $1,500-$3,000 to build. The H2O Project is hoping to raise enough money from the 5K to build two more wells.
The cost of the race is $20 for anyone who signs up before race day. The $20 fee includes a T-shirt. The cost for anyone who signs up the day of the race is $25.
Check-in will begin at 1:00 p.m., and the race will start at 2:00 p.m.
Snacks and beverages will be provided after the race.
“Water is essential for life,” Koehler said,“but those in developing countries do not have the privilege of having easy-access to something as simple as water, and we are hoping to change that.”
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