Walking for Water

Allie Thompson/Fourth Estate

The African Student Association raises money to help provide clean water for Burundi


Mason’s student organizations are not just about having fun. Many of these organizations also find creative ways to give back to their community. One organization, the African Student Association (ASA), hosted a Walk for Water on Saturday, April 27, in support of their Burundi Water Mission Project.

“The Burundi Water Mission Project that we’re working on is our initiative for the year,” explained Mariem Abadir, ASA’s outreach/fundraising chair. “Each year, the African Student Association picks an initiative to focus their community service and fundraising efforts to. What we’re doing this year is we’re working with a company that makes water filters for a large scale of people. We know that Burundi is a small nation in the continent of Africa, but it has really low access to clean and drinkable water.”

Throughout the year, ASA has been raising money for their Burundi Water Mission Project to donate to Water Mission, an organization that helps provide clean water to countries around the world. The money will be used to help fund a water filter for a village in Burundi.

So far, ASA has raised about $800 out of $5,000. The organization is also partnering with UNICEF GMU and New Life International United Methodist Church to help raise money.

During the Walk for Water, students checked in outside of Merten Hall, where they received two empty gallon-sized bottles of water. They carried those bottles from Merten Hall to the Mason Pond, where there was a bucket of water waiting to fill them up. Afterward, they walked back to Merten Hall while carrying the full bottles.

Abadir said that the experience of carrying the water was “supposed to give us a fraction of the experience that [people in Burundi] have to go through every single day to get access to clean and drinkable water. …That’s what we wanted to do for the Mason community here, to give them a little bit of the experience that we had and that the people back home have, too.”

The ASA Walk for Water was inspired by other Walk for Water events. “The first Walk for Water was focused on Tanzania, and I was born in Tanzania,” said Egette Indelele, ASA’s secretary. So [a] newspaper came out and they contacted me … and I just had an idea, like, ‘Oh we should have this on campus.’”

Unlike other Walks for Water, where participants walk for three miles with the empty water bottles, return to their starting place, fill up the bottles and walk another three miles with full bottles for a total of six miles, participants in the ASA Walk for Water walked about three miles total.

After completing the walk, Deja Redding, a junior accounting and finance major, said, “The walk was really cool. I think that it definitely brought awareness to what someone has to go through on a daily basis trying to get water for their family. So exactly what the event was supposed to do.”

Although the Walk for Water is the biggest event they have had in support of the project, ASA has also had other fundraising events throughout the year, including a date auction. They will also continue to accept donations through the rest of the semester.