March 21, 2017

Oregon Middle Schooler Fundraises for Safe Water Network

Ben Yundt

Safe Water Network got help from an unexpected collaborator. Ben Yundt, a middle schooler in Oregon, launched a fundraising campaign to support Safe Water Network’s work toward ensuring that those in need gain access to safe water. He sold blue bracelets at $3 apiece to raise money for the organization. This campaign holds special significance for Ben: raised in an orphanage in Accra, Ghana, until he was adopted by the Yundt family in the United States, he was tasked with fetching water each day.

Ben’s teacher, Carole Nase, felt strongly about Ben’s desire to give back to his home country, and reached out to Safe Water Network. Inspired by his campaign, Safe Water Network’s Accra office wished Ben well and offered him any information he needed for a class presentation he was to give.

“Did you know that 4,000 kids under the age of five die each year from bad water in Ghana?” Ben asked his class during his presentation. “I think we should help these kids have safe water. I experienced what these kids felt. When I was little, I lived in an orphanage in Accra, Ghana, that had bad water.”

Ben went on to describe his daily routine in a community with limited access to safe water: “There was no running water in the [orphanage] and no sinks. We got our water from a small pump outside—this was clean water. And then we got water from a well that was under a tree—this was dirty water. We used safe water for cooking and bad water to wash the dishes. I would get water for our orphanage four times a day.” He would carry the water on his head in “a huge bucket.”

“I remember that, in Ghana, water was the most important thing,” Ben recalled, as he reflected on a life where safe water was not a given. “It was important because we didn’t have a lot of it. Also, most water had bacteria in it and made people sick.”

Ben then shared information about Safe Water Network, the organization he had found that “is known for developing safe running water stations. This means that they are able to continue in a healthy state without future assistance.”

Impressed with his presentation, Ben’s school has arranged for him to speak about his life and Safe Water Network at other schools in the area.

As for his fundraiser, Ben offered a simple outlook: “If people donate more, we save more lives.”

From the Safe Water Network team, thanks for all your hard work Ben!

Click here to view Ben's video

Ben Yundt
I remember that, in Ghana, water was the most important thing. It was important because we didn’t have a lot of it.