A Powerful Partnership For Learning and Service:
Stillwater Junior High School, Lost Boys of Sudan, H2O For Life and Water For South Sudan
Students Raise More Than $71,000 To Fund Wells in South Sudan
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Stillwater Junior High School H2O For Life - Water For South Sudan

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First well funded by Stillwater Junior High School near Wau, Sudan unveiled on PBS Program "Need To Know", Friday, January 7, 2011

The Lost Boys of Sudan are 27,000 boys orphaned during the 2nd Sudanese Civil War who undertook an incredible journey to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, enduring separation from families, war, hunger, wild animals and disease. In 2001, 3800 were resettled in the U.S. They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky is the story of three Lost Boys - Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng and Alephonsion Deng. The award-winning National Geographic documentary God Grew Tired Of Us profiles Lost Boy John Bul Dau.

From 2009-2013, 9th grade Geography students at Stillwater Junior High School in Stillwater, Minnesota read and responded to They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky. Thanks to grants from the Partnership Plan for Stillwater Schools , District #834 and the Stillwater Noon Rotary, students had the opportunity to meet and learn from Lost Boys Benjamin Ajak (2009), Benson Deng (2010) and Alephonsion Deng (2012) from San Diego, California, John Bul Dau (2011) from Syracuse, New York and Moses Joknhial II (2013) from Duluth, Minnesota. Benjamin, Benson, Alepho, John and Moses each spoke with more than 300 Geography students in classrooms and with the Stillwater community via evening public presentations.

In 2014, students read I Am Malala, Skyped with Lost Boy of Sudan Sebastian Maroundit in Rochester, NY and hosted a public screening of the documentary film Girl Rising. Through these experiences, students learned that a critical issue facing South Sudan today and one that prevents girls from accessing education worldwide is the lack of access to clean, safe water.

In 2015, students once again read I Am Malala and met and learned from Kuoth Wiel, South Sudanese refugee, actress, model and humanitarian who plays the role of Abital in the feature film The Good Lie.

A chance meeting in San Diego between Patty Hall, founder of H2O For Life and a friend of Judy Bernstein, editor and mentor to Benjamin, Benson and Alepho, sparked a partnership. When Patty learned that Benjamin would be speaking in Stillwater in December 2009, she contacted Stillwater teacher Sara Damon and suggested that Benjamin’s visit serve as a catalyst to build a relationship between Stillwater Junior High students, H2O For Life and Water For South Sudan.

Thanks to this powerful partnership, Stillwater Junior High students not only have a deeper understanding of geography concepts related to culture, migration and the refugee experience, but are also able to contribute to a better future for the family and friends of the Lost Boys still in South Sudan. Collaborating with Water For South Sudan is especially meaningful for Stillwater students, as former Lost Boy of Sudan Salva Dut founded and runs the organization.

Stillwater Junior High students have now raised more than $71,000 for Water For South Sudan through t-shirt sales, an annual Walk For Water, Lost Boy of Sudan events, Girl Rising and The Good Lie film screenings, community public speaking engagements and a variety of school-based fundraisers. Eight clean water wells have been funded!

Learn more about H2O For Life: http://www.h2oforlifeschools.org

Learn more about Water For South Sudan: http://www.waterforsouthsudan.org

For further information, contact Sara Damon at damons@stillwater.k12.mn.us or 651-351-6952.