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East Texas students raise money to create water well in Uganda

Students at Hudson PEP Elementary School in Longview were inspired to raise money to establish...
Students at Hudson PEP Elementary School in Longview were inspired to raise money to establish a clean water well in Uganda.(We Work Two)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 6:28 AM CDT
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LONGVIEW, La. (KSLA) - Students at a Longview elementary school are changing the lives of people on the other side of the planet after being inspired by a simple book.

Hudson PEP Elementary School students read A Long Walk To Water, a New York Times best-seller written by Linda Sue Park, which tells two stories of children in Sudan. The book highlights the daily struggles people in this region face accessing healthy drinking water.

“Over time, we just kept getting built up sadness because these people are just suffering each day because of nasty water,” said Cohen Harvison, a Hudson PEP fifth grade student. “It was all of our combined efforts that helped create a well for at least three thousand people.”

The students worked alongside a local organization called We Help Two, which facilitates different fundraisers by selling socks and soap. When one of these items is purchased, funds not only go towards the desired cause but a sock and soap donation is also made to homeless shelters.

Students also held a penny war within the school to challenge each other to garner more funds for the well.

After raising thousands of dollars in a matter of months, the students were able to see their purposeful project come to fruition. A drinking well was established in Hudson PEP Elementary School’s name in Uganda.

“The biggest thing they’ve learned is they can make a difference and whether it’s through penny wars or purchasing a pack of socks, it all adds up with the whole community being involved,” said Trevor Bergman, a founder of We Help Two. “They’ve literally impacted and saved peoples’ lives.”

Regina Ward, a fifth grade reading and writing teacher at Hudson PEP, said the project is making a difference abroad and at home. She was thrilled to see these students inspired by a compassionate cause and then collaborate to find a solution.

“I felt like this was a good way to present a problem and then for them to be the problem-solvers, they had to think through this whole process,” said Ward. “They got to see a project from the beginning to the end.”

The most meaningful lesson these students learned cannot be taught in a classroom and is not found in a book. Rather, it is an experience that shapes and expands the heart: compassion.

“Care for everyone, it doesn’t matter who they are, but you should be kind to anyone,” said Mia Bustamante, a Hudson PEP fifth grade student.

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