The Service Learning Board hosted its fourth annual Walk for Water on the TASIS campus on the afternoon of April 27, raising CHF 1150 for clean water initiatives carried out by Gram Vikas, an NGO that has been working with the rural people of Odisha, India, for more than 36 years with the aim of building an equitable and sustainable society where people live in peace with dignity.“
"The fact that we can have this ‘experience’ while also raising funds to combat the very problem we are learning about makes it even more special,” said Global Service Program Director Zach Mulert, who helped support his student leaders, including Adam Osgood ‘16 and Amanda McAfee ’16, senior leaders for the recent Gram Vikas Service Learning trip to India.
Eighty-nine students, staff, and community members of all ages completed this year’s walk, which consisted of carrying a 10–20 kilogram bucket of water around a one-kilometer course in order to simulate what many people in the developing world must go through daily to secure clean water.
“Coming from a place of privilege, it is easy to read and learn about the challenges of the developing world, but rarely do any of us truly understand what daily life is like,” said Mr. Mulert. “To create an event that not only mimics (in some small way) what many people must do every day without batting an eye helps one learn to empathize and also recognize one's place of privilege. Not all of our students get to participate in a Global Service trip, so this is one small act that hopefully encourages others to reflect about their responsibility to the world.”
All water used in the event helped fill the fountains outside the iconic Casa Fleming. Students in the ninth grade had the highest level of participation and relished the opportunity to dump their buckets on the High School Deans in the always-popular “Dunk the Deans” finale.
Originally inspired by Sarah Wyler ’13, this annual event has now rallied more than 400 participants and raised more than CHF 4500 for clean water initiatives in Nepal, Kenya, and India—all countries where the Global Service Program continues to send students.
TASIS Global Service Program
The Global Service Program was envisioned by Jan Opsahl ’68, who became the first international student at TASIS when he came from Norway in 1965. The pioneering program was launched in 2013 with major support from a most generous donation from Mr. Opsahl and his family to set up the Global Service Trust. This Trust, along with support from the TASIS Foundation, make this incredible, life-changing experience for our students possible.The Global Service Program transforms lives by providing every High School student a unique opportunity to connect across borders through comprehensive experiences that build empathy and encourage personal responsibility. Participation in the program—which is designed to awaken students to humanitarian needs; inspire them to build enduring, mutually beneficial relationships; and lead them toward a life of active citizenship and committed service—is a graduation requirement.