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County students celebrate We Day X

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PICTOU — On Friday, April 27 students from 11 Pictou County schools will tackle the rising world water crisis and take action with a We Day X event and host the community’s first WE Walk For Water. This international fundraiser aims to provide access to clean water for life to 50,000 people in developing communities.

The WE Day X, taking place at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre, will be a scaled down celebration of the popular WE Day events held in major cities across Canada and the US, but will focus on the work of local students participating in their We Schools programs.

Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul will open the event and be followed by student presentations on global, national and local water issues. Olympic Bronze Medal rower Tracy Stuart will be the keynote speaker.

At noon, students will make their way to the Pictou waterfront to commence their water walk. They will carry jugs that will be filled with water from the harbour for one kilometer along the Jitney Trail, then return the water back to the harbour. Local political representatives and community leaders have been invited to participate.

As a leader in international development, WE has been addressing water as a critical issue for more than 20 years and to date has provided one million people with access to clean water through WE Villages, WE’s unique and sustainable international development model built on five pillars of impact — Education, Water, Health, Food and Opportunity.

“I have seen first hand the impact that clean water projects have in the WE Villages that I visited in Kenya last summer,” says Georgia Murray, a Grade 11 student at NRHS and a participant in her WE School group. “When communities have access to clean water, their girls do not have to spend their days walking back and forth to the river lugging large jugs of what is almost always dirty water back to their homes. Community wells mean that these girls can spend their time in school. But not only does clean water create opportunity for education it also dramatically reduces illness.”

The Pictou County WE Day X event and Water Walk is a huge accomplishment for these students, says Julie MacNeil, one of the educator leaders who teaches at NRHS. “Last fall our school hosted a county-wide leadership workshop in conjunction to WE Day Atlantic. Students from different schools created a challenge to work together for a common goal. I am really excited for them.”

WE Schools is a free service learning program that provides educational resources rooted in service learning.

Students in Pictou County will be joining forces with thousands of other young people across North America to walk and raise awareness on the importance of clean water.