Running for well being: Effort raises funds for clean water in Sudan

The second annual CARE 2RUN 5k race raised over $1,000 in donations, extending local awareness for the resources crisis in Sudan, while promoting health and wellness within the Kenai community.


The local arm of the 100 Wells Campaign, called 100 Wells Team Alaska sponsored by Peninsula Grace Brethren Church, raises money for the national 100 Wells Campaign, which directs financial aid into building and repairing wells in Sudan and South Sudan, said event organizer Janice Habermann. Saving a life costs $30, which was the entry price for the 5k, she said.

“The more you raise awareness the faster a problem disappears,” Habermann said.

The local group, the only active organization in Alaska for the 100 Wells cause, has raised $10,396 since it was founded two years ago, Habermann said. One well costs $15,000 to build, and the goal is to pay for two, she said.

The 100 Wells Campaign works with the Persecution Project Foundation, which focuses on repairing wells destroyed by war, according to its web site. The two groups have provided clean water to 80,000 people to date. Habermann said she has been in direct contact with organizers of both groups over the years.

Events like CARE 2RUN are successful because they promote and provide international assistance with an activity that is engaging and beneficial to the community, Habermann said.

Entire families, a group of employees from the Kaladi Brothers Coffee, walkers and runners came out for the 5k Habermann said. Many said they would be coming back next year.

Coordinator Susan Pfaffe said she noticed charitable giving goes up and down with the economy. As an educator on tobacco use, she also said building a foundation of awareness within a community takes time, no matter the size. Patience is key, she said.

Pffafe said if a level of commitment is established, once a goal is reached that doesn’t mean it is a stopping point. She predicts after Team Alaska hits their target, they would likely continue to raise money for the Sudanese affected by the regional ethnically and politically fueled conflict.

Pfaffe said Team Alaska stays on top of the African region’s developments. The group keeps the Peninsula Grace community updated and announces new information on the 100 Wells Team Alaska Facebook page.

According to Oxfam International, an international poverty relief confederation, over 900,000 are internally displaced in South Sudan, and 300,000 people have fled to neighboring countries.

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has publicly stated he seeks to eradicate non-Muslims from the Darfur region in Sudan, Habermann said. His tactics have boiled down to control and denial of resources, resulting in little or no access to, and sometimes tainted, water supplies.

“Raising money for wells is something we can do,” Habermann said. While the process to achieving the $30,000 mark been slower than originally projected, Habermann said, the goal is still in sight.

Lack of clean water is not unique to Sudan, Habermann said. Globally 1.8 million people die from diarrhea per year, which is the direct result of unsanitary water sources. Of the 1.8 million, 90 percent are children, she said.

Long-term Team Alaska is working to create a sustainable way people in the Kenai community can feel good about consistently giving to a cause, Pfaffe said.


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