Water for All
WPVGA Helps Sponsor Second Annual WELLers Walk to Help Build Wells in Africa
In an effort to raise funds to build wells in Africa, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) helped sponsor the second annual Makah Water for All WELLers Walk on September 20 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
This unique event consisted of a walk along the Wisconsin River, from Pfiffner Park to Bukolt Park, with participants repeatedly filling and carrying water jugs to a central location, as if they were making the trek many villagers in Cameroon, Africa make daily, simply to gather enough water for their family’s immediate needs.
This family-friendly event was designed to raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water and raise funds to help deliver it to those in need. The event also included a presentation on 14 wells that have already been built, plans for future wells and information on how to become a WELLer. All proceeds go toward building more wells (each well costs about $5,000) and improving more lives.
“If you think about the average American consuming 100 gallons of water per day, and then you see how many people and how long it takes to fill a 250-gallon container, I think it puts things in perspective,” said Sam Dinga, a native of Cameroon, Africa, and now a Stevens Point resident.
In 2009, Dinga lost his 40-year old sister, Ma Kah, to stomach complications due to bad drinking water. MaKah had been traveling to impoverished villages around Cameroon, helping the villagers obtain clean water. To honor his sister, and in hopes of preventing more people from suffering her fate, he started the Makah Water for All Foundation and pledged to build 40 pump wells in the rural areas of Cameroon.
The Makah Water for All Foundation was created with the belief that healthy drinking water, as an essential need, should be available and accessible for all people, with the current focus on the villagers in Cameroon. To date, thanks to tremendous support from the people of Central Wisconsin, 14 wells have been completed, changing the lives of over 20,000 villagers.
Through generous donations provided by the WPVGA, Paramount Farms, Okray Family Farms, Bushmans’,Inc., Warner & Warner, Roberts Irrigation and many others, this year’s WELLers Walk raised enough funds to build two more wells.
“We wanted to show that the Wisconsin potato industry cares about water both locally and globally,” said WPVGA board member Jeremie Pavelski of Heartland Farms, Hancock, who also serves as co-chairman of the WPVGA’s Water Task Force. “We know how important water is and we’re willing to do whatever we can to make sure there’s enough water for everyone. This fundraising event is for a great cause, and we are very happy to support it.”
Central Wisconsin depends on safe, sustainable water, not only for basic daily living needs, but also for agriculture, the economy, the livelihood of restaurants, breweries and businesses and the present and future health of the community.
Makah Water for All has a fund with the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin. Contributions can be made directly to the fund by going to www.cfcwi.org or by making a check to Makah Water for All Fund and mailing it to Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin, 1501 Clark St, P.O Box 968, Stevens Point WI 54481. For more information, visit: www.makahwaterforall.org.