FMS paper beads project to help provide safe water


‘ONLY 19 MORE …’ For every 20 homemade paper beads made, safe, clean drinking water will be provided for one per-son in Tanzania through the Students Rebuild Water Challenge. Joining in the challenge this month are Fredericksburg Middle School Art I students, among them seventh grader Austin West. — Photo courtesy Paige Conn/FMS Art teacher

For Fredericksburg Middle School’s Art I students, paper beads are the same thing as clean drinking water for children in Tanzania.

That’s because they are taking part in the “Students Rebuild Water Challenge,” which matches donated paper beads with funding from the Bezos Family Foundation to provide safe drinking water to schools and villages in Tanzania.

Every 20 homemade paper beads received will help provide clean water for one person in need in that country, with a target goal of 323,460 beads donated to help the 16,173 people through 41 water projects.

“I feel this would be a great cause to have all area schools come together to help others,” said Paige Conn, FMS art teacher, who said she wants to meet a couple of days after school for bead making.

“Some students have said they want to make more with their family or when friends are over to spend the night,” she said.

The Bezos Family Foundation chooses a campaign each year. Last year, students created paper cranes for Japan and the victims of the massive earthquake there.

“I regret I only found out about Students Rebuild now, but I look forward to getting in on the ground level of next year’s campaign, whatever it may be,” Conn said.

Students will continue crafting the beads until early May, when they must be packaged up and shipped for arrival by the May 16 deadline.

According to www.studentsrebuild.org: “The Students Rebuild Water Challenge will mean more than clean water. It means opportunity, freedom to go to school and get an education. Clean water means less disease and more money for books and other needs. Water affects everything: education, health, poverty, prospects for women and children. It affects you — even if you’re not yet feeling the effects of the crisis in your own backyard.”

A template for making paper beads and more information about the Water Challenge is available at www.studentsrebuild.org.

Conn may be reached at FMS’ art studio at 997-7657.

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