Katie_Saunders_Educator

Bath Community School 118 School St. Bath, N.B. E7L 1C4 Telephone: (506)278-6000

WE 339 Queen Street East Toronto, ON M5A 1S9

October 30, 2018

Dear WE Schools,

Involved, Empowered, Sustained

Involved, Empowered, Sustained. These are the words that play through my mind as I reflect on the overall impact I saw first-hand while on a WE educators trip to the Napo Region of Ecuador in July 2018.

Since 2013, Bath Community School has been involved in the WE Schools program and in that time a culture has been created that we have a responsibility to help others within our community and globally in whatever way we can. That help comes through both financial support but also being aware of issues or injustices and making informed decisions about how we speak and act. Each time we did fundraising and I forwarded a cheque, I did so hoping that the money was being used to bring about change to those in a community in a country we knew little about. After my experience in Ecuador I no longer have to say “I hope” our money is being put to good use because I experienced first- hand that it is. As I stood on the dirt road in the community of Bellavista in the intense heat and humidity I learned about the well that now brings clean water to over 40 homes in this community. I learned that members of the community have been trained on how the well works, maintenance and repair. I learned that each family contributes a small amount of money each month to ensure a reserve for when repairs and upgrades are need and that the children are being educated on the importance of hygiene practices to reduce illnesses. This was the moment for me that the hope I had that WE was using the money we donated was indeed actually happening and I was seeing it first-hand. I saw that through building relationships, WE involves

as many members of the community as possible, empowering both the young and the old to create sustainable practices that will improve the lives of as many people as possible long after WE has physically left the community. The well was only one example of many that I saw that week. The intention to involve, empower and sustain were evident in each project I witnessed, as was hope in the words of the people as they spoke about their future.

Katie Saunders, MEd Numeracy Lead Grades 6-10 Anglophone School District West New Brunswick

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