At the beginning of this academic year, I read a story to the children called ‘The Water Princess’ by Susan Verde. The book tells a true-life story of a girl named Princess Gie Gie. Each morning Gie Gie’s mother wakes her early and they make the long, arduous journey to the local well many hours away.
Once home, they use this water to wash, drink and cook. However, the water isn’t clear and clean, but cloudy and dirty. This is a daily occurrence for so many young women in countries across the world.
The book explains that it’s not just the lack of fresh water that Princess Gie Gie endures. As it’s their job to collect the water, she and her friends are not able to attend school.
At St Mary’s School, we believe that every person has the right to clean water. As a community, we also want to support access to education for girls wherever they are growing up.
This year, I have challenged each class to raise funds to buy a toilet and together the School will also raise money for a well. Together, we want to help change lives by providing clean running water, sanitation, as well as enabling every girl to benefit from a full education.
Closer to home, we have collectively made the decision to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in school and the amount of rubbish we produce.
To achieve this, we’re providing the children with fresh fruit at break time. This means they are no longer bringing in snacks which are often manufactured using packaging which is extremely difficult to recycle. The core, skin and peel of their fruit is then placed in our composting bin to ensure that less waste is going to landfill.
After Assembly, one pupil declared “This year is going to be all about taps, toilets and trash!” I couldn’t have summarised it better.
Harriet Connor-Earl, Headmistress