By Carly Radist
Five wells providing clean water were built as a result of Caitlin Cunninghamâs â09 school fundraiser last May. She sold blue bracelets to raise money for the wells in Cambodia. Through the sale of the bracelets, Cunningham raised $601 and after subtracting expenses, she donated $510 to the Tabitha Foundation.
She was inspired to start her own project when she visited Cambodia a few years ago while she was still living in Singapore. Cunningham lived in Singapore until she was 14.
“I walked through a village and was told by a native Cambodian tour guide that many villages in Cambodia were suffering from dehydration and an inability to properly irrigate crops because they didnât have any wells for clean water,” Cunningham said.
The water from the wells is the only source of clean water for Cambodian villages. Without water to irrigate crops, families cannot grow food and face starvation.
After hearing this, Cunningham decided to help and raise money for the cause. Although she left Singapore soon after, she continued her efforts while living in Los Angeles.
The blue bracelets represent clean well water and are engraved with her projectâs name, Cambodia Wishing Wells.
The wells were built in a region called Siem Reap. Each well costs $125 and will provide clean, safe drinking water for people in Cambodia. The wells are usually used by five families which can include up to eight people each.
One of Cunninghamâs goals for raising money from Harvard-Westlake students is for them to understand the needs of people in a foreign country.
“When students see pictures of the wells they helped build, they will feel a connection to people in another part of the world, specifically a third world country, and it will have an effect on their lives,” she said in her proposal to the Planning Committee.
In addition to raising money on her own, she has motivated friends from Singapore to get involved. A friend of Cunninghamâs has recently moved to Connecticut and plans to sell the “Cambodia Wishing Wells” bracelets at his school. He will then send the proceeds to Cunningham towards her project.
“Iâm glad that my project was so successful and is now being done on the East Coast,” she said.
Cunningham is deciding on an exact date to begin another fundraiser at school. However, students can donate money directly to Cunningham and buy bracelets from her. Also, students can help with the fundraising process by putting up posters and flyers at the bracelet-selling station during the sale.
Students can find out more about the Tabitha Foundation to which Cunningham donates her proceeds by visiting its website at www.tabithafoundationaustralia.com.