Walk for Water gains more followers

Walk for Water co-founders Bryanna Entwistle (foreground centre, wearing blue cap), Sabrina Sain (white cap) and Sophie Wirt (wearing earphones) with some of the 170 people who walked 28km along the green corridor as part of a fund-raising effort to build
Walk for Water co-founders Bryanna Entwistle (foreground centre, wearing blue cap), Sabrina Sain (white cap) and Sophie Wirt (wearing earphones) with some of the 170 people who walked 28km along the green corridor as part of a fund-raising effort to build wells in Cambodia. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Bryanna (centre), flanked by Sabrina (right) and Sophie, walking along the green corridor in 2014. The three Singapore American School students started the initiative in 2013. Altogether, the charity walk has raised over $100,000, not inclusive of this ye
Bryanna (centre), flanked by Sabrina (right) and Sophie, walking along the green corridor in 2014. The three Singapore American School students started the initiative in 2013. Altogether, the charity walk has raised over $100,000, not inclusive of this year’s donations. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Families in Cambodia have benefited from the wells built by the Tabitha Foundation, with money raised through the Walk for Water initiative.
Families in Cambodia have benefited from the wells built by the Tabitha Foundation, with money raised through the Walk for Water initiative. PHOTO: TABITHA FOUNDATION

Initiative by 3 students to provide potable water to Cambodian villagers has caught on

A 170-strong contingent braved the sun and rain last Saturday, trudging a 28km route along the green corridor, as part of a fund- raising effort to build wells in Cambodia.

Walk for Water, which started in 2013 with three students from the Singapore American School (SAS) - Sabrina Sain, Bryanna Entwistle, and Sophie Wirt - has steadily grown over five years.

This year, more than 200 people took part in the walk, its biggest turnout yet. This is an increase from the 150 or so participants last year and about 90 in 2015.

Sabrina, 16, one of the event's co-founders, told The Straits Times: "When we first started this project, we didn't really expect to see such growth. We've been really happy and surprised with its continuous success over the years."

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Altogether, the charity walk has raised over $100,000, not inclusive of this year's donations. This goes to the Tabitha Foundation, a non- profit organisation that provides the Cambodian people with access to potable water. So far, about 550 wells have been built in 37 provinces around the country.

"Seeing the project grow over the five years has opened my eyes to what a difference we can make in people's lives just by taking a chance," added Sophie, 16. "But what really keeps us motivated is seeing the photos of the wells that have been built, and (knowing) that they are actually helping people."

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Seeing the project grow over the five years has opened my eyes to what a difference we can make in people's lives just by taking a chance. But what really keeps us motivated is seeing the photos of the wells that have been built, and (knowing) that they are actually helping people.

SOPHIE WIRT, 16, one of the three founding members of Walk for Water.

The route, starting at the Singapore American School campus in Woodlands and ending at the Sentosa Boardwalk, gives participants a taste of the lengths many Cambodians go to fetch clean drinking water.

This year, the founders formed a planning committee.

As they will be graduating in two years, they wanted to prepare a team who would eventually take over to ensure the project's sustainability.

Teagan Mountcastle, 16, who has been taking part in the walk since 2014, decided to join the planning committee to get involved behind the scenes.

"I hadn't realised that it took a lot of communication to get the word out," said Teagan. "I had to e-mail a string of teachers before we were given a day for our representatives to present and promote the event to the middle school."

Through the years, Walk for Water has also become a fixture on the SAS calendar, receiving support from the school management and the parent support group.

Dr Chip Kimball, superintendent of SAS, is certain that Walk for Water will continue long after its founders have graduated, noting that they have been "very deliberate" in ensuring sustainabiliy.

Noting that the school will continue supporting students in their service projects, he said: "I am so inspired by the work our students so passionately take on, and so is our community."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2017, with the headline 'Walk for Water gains more followers'. Print Edition | Subscribe