DANVERS — Inspired by a Sudanese refugee's effort to create access to safe water in his home country, students and staff at Holten Richmond Middle School on Tuesday held a benefit bingo night.
The event originated after students read "A Long Walk to Water" by Linda Sue Park in their English language arts classes. The book follows Salva, an 11-year-old boy forced to flee his village in South Sudan during civil war. Without his family, he eventually finds safety in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya before ending up in Rochester, New York. Years later, he would learn that his father was still alive in South Sudan, but sick from the region's dirty water. Salva returned to visit his father, but left with a mission to bring clean drinking water to Sudan.
Salva Dut would go on to found Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit that works to bring access to and monitor safe drinking water for communities in South Sudan's rural areas.
Holten Richmond's bingo night was planned as part of the Iron Giraffe Challenge, an annual fundraising campaign sponsored by the nonprofit that encourages schools to raise money to sponsor wells, hygiene education and other projects in South Sudan. If the school raises $1,000 by next month, it will be entered into a drawing to win a visit from Dut or a video call with Dut or Park, among other prizes.