In preparation for the FIRST LEGO League robotics competition in February, students from Island Park’s Lincoln Orens Middle School are investigating ways to ease the world’s water shortages and build wells in Africa as well as other regions. This year’s competition theme is hydrodynamics, and in addition to building and programming a robot, contestants are required to present a project related to the topic.
Students were asked to identify water-shortage problems and then design solutions. As they learned during their research, access to clean water is a serious concern around the world. In response, the students plan to work with two nonprofits to raise money and help fund wells that would provide clean water to those in areas without access.
Water for South Sudan is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization supporting the construction of wells in the rural countryside of the African country. The students were inspired to help this charity after reading the book “A Long Walk to Water.”
Additionally, the students also decided to help Paper for Water, a nonprofit initiated by two young girls on a mission to build awareness of the need for clean water. “Every 21 seconds a child dies from unclean water,” the organization’s website says. In the past four years, Paper for Water has raised more than $1.3 million and funded over 150 water projects in 14 countries, including a Navajo reservation in New Mexico.