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FFHS to host 'water walk'

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Canada is plentiful in the number of fresh water resources available to its citizens.

With Canada having about 20 percent of the world's fresh water, people sometimes can take clean drinking water for granted.

This Thursday (April 26) from 3:30-6:30 p.m., Fort Frances High School students and staff will try to change this by making people more aware of what those in Third World countries have to go through to get enough water for one day.

This is being done through FFHS's first-ever “Walk for Water" event that also will raise funds for the "Me to We” charity that helps provide impoverished communities with access to clean water.

The event will provide participants with the opportunity to carry weighted packs that will simulate what people in Third World countries experience when they go to collect water.

A majority of those who provide water to their family in developing countries are women and young girls, who often don't have the chance to get an education because they need to stay home and collect water.

“We want to help break the cycle of poverty and give these young girls and women an opportunity to do more so they can attend school,” said FFHS teacher Sarah Arpin, who is organizing Thursday's event.

“Every day it's the girls who are the ones that have to walk out to get water,” she noted.

“It's very heavy and their accessing not totally clean water.”

FFHS student Emma Cole helped to organize the fundraiser after resonating with the cause.

“I really wanted to get involved because I went to Ecuador last summer . . . and I experienced my own water walk,” she recalled.

“Just seeing what they do every day and how challenging it was for me, only experiencing it once,” she added.

“I thought, 'Why not bring it to Fort Frances and let the locals experience it here for themselves.'”

Cole's water walk experience involved carrying roughly 40-50 pounds of water for about a mile.

The walk gave her perspective on what many of the girls her age in Ecuador would have to endure to get water every day.

Fellow FFHS student Lillie MacKinnon also had the opportunity to participate in a water walk in Ecuador, which she said made her passionate about the issue.

“They want to try to bring a piece of what they experienced and what they saw back to our community to show how hard it is,” Arpin said.

She is excited to be able to bring this event to Fort Frances because it's something new to the school and has never been done before.

“We've never actually held a 'We Day' event that has involved the whole community in this way,” Arpin noted.

She's hoping the event will draw lots of attendees, with the walk being open to everyone.

Arpin noted the main focus for this event is to raise awareness in the community.

“When we talked with Emma and Lillie, their biggest thing is just trying to get the awareness out of it,” she remarked.

“Even if you can't donate, even if you can't stay and walk that long, at least come out and get the awareness of what it's like somewhere else,” Arpin urged.

“What it's like to have to actually walk for that water.”

Arpin is encouraging everyone to come out, adding there will be a barbecue, music, and some entertainment to make this a fun event for everybody.

“I'd say have an open mind, come out, try it,” MacKinnon enthused.

“We are going to be talking to people there, telling them what we learned first-hand and hopefully inspire others to realize change is possible,” she added.

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