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Chris Vonesch is chaplain at St.Thomas Aquinas High School in Russell, Ontario. Last year, five grade 8 students went to him with the idea to build wells with SOPAR. Their passion and dedication created a wave of support. On Shrove Tuesday, they offered a free pancake breakfast to the entire school as a kick off. Then, during Lenten they had a coin drive. The fundraiser went so well that they built not one but four wells. Some members of our Indian team came to Ottawa for a visit last June. They wanted to personally thank the students. So a school visit was in order…

At their arrival, more than 200 students were waiting for them.

Among the Indian delegates, Latha explained how the villagers also contributed in their own way to the construction of the well.

Indeed, SOPAR ensures every time it gets funding from a school, that the villagers are committed to their well project. Not only do we ask for their contribution, whether it is money, time or work, we also provide training. Thus, the villagers feel that the well belongs to them. They also gain confidence in their skills and assets to carry out by themselves other development projects.

When a Canadian school takes part in the Youth Changing the World Program, they do not only fund the construction of a well in India. They also provide SOPAR with a good opportunity to go in villages, bring awareness and get people to realise they have what it takes to take charge of their development. That’s what we call “helping communities help themselves”.

At St. Thomas Aquinas School, like many other Canadian schools: Youth Change the World…