Mission and Vision

Amman Imman's is dedicated to empowering and preserving Africa's most vulnerable indigenous peoples and engaging school children worldwide as socially conscious leaders.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Amman Imman launches "A Run For Water" Campaign!

Join our Run for Water Campaign!
Contact us at info@ammanimman.org 

Laurel organized A Run for Water in 2008 3Laurel organized A Run for Water in 2008

Sponsor Anya and Tammy as
They Run for Water!
Anya will run in the Marine Corps Marathon on October 31 3Anya Runs to Save Lives in Memory of her Father
 Tammy Runs to Spread the Word About Wells of Love and the Azawak

 Read about Mary’s Incredible 12 hour Run! 

Mary ran 60 miles in 12 hours, raising over $3,000 2

Mary ran 60.85 miles in 12 hours for the Azawak, raising over $3,000 

Recruit Others to join our Run for Water Campaign!
Recruit your friends and family to run, walk, bike, etc. for Amman Imman! 
Contact us at info@ammanimman.org


Dear Friends of the Azawak,

As students Walk for Water across the world, several of our dedicated supporters “run for water”.  Our running movement began in 2006, when Laurel Lundstrom ran the Philadelphia marathon after she became “inspired to raise awareness about the plight of little girls in the Azawak who travel up to 35 miles roundtrip for water”.   In 2008, Laurel organized a “Run for Water” event in DC where runners came together and ran a 35 mile relay, representing the distance some children walk in the Azawak to find water.

This past June, Mary Ohren ran 60.85 miles in 12 hours, and raised over $3,000 to help “bring the gift of life to the wonderful people of the Azawak”.   Today, Anya Fonina and Tammy Brennan are training to run in October.  They’ve already begun reaching out to sponsors, raising money and spreading the word about the Azawak!  Anya has already raised $13,000 in one month toward her $20,000 goal!  Go  Anya's site to sponsor her. Tammy's site will be up and running soon.

Join our “Run for Water” Campaign!
As a response to this growing running trend, Amman Imman is officially launching “A Run for Water” campaign.   Please join our campaign and run in honor of the children of the Azawak.  If you aren’t a runner, consider swimming, hiking, biking, roller-blading, walking or undertaking another fun activity for which you can be sponsored and raise awareness for the Azawak!  We’ll be happy to help you, and create a web page from which you can spread the word, raise awareness, and obtain sponsorships.  Just contact us at info@ammanimman.org.

Here’s more information on some of our Amman Imman athlete heroes!

Match Anya’s Personal $500 Contribution while She Runs in Memory of her Father!
Anya Fonina, one of my dearest friends and long-time Amman Imman supporter, is training and preparing to run the Marine Corps Marathon on October 31st, in memory of her beloved father who passed away this winter.  She has chosen to use her run as a venue to help and bring attention to the Azawak.  Beyond running and reaching out to sponsors, Anya has donated $500, and now challenges her supporters to match her grant whenever they can (less or more is also highly appreciated!).  Anya has already raised over $13,000 toward her $20,000 goal for the Azawak!!!   Click here to learn more about Anya and watch her fundraising thermometer soar!  

Tammy Runs to Raise Awareness and Inspire Parents to Support Wells of Love
Tammy Brennan, one of our devoted Montessori parent supporters, aims to raise at least $5,000 by running the Army 10 miler race in Washington DC on October 24th.  Her three children, Miko, Lukas, and Alexandra, each of whom walked for water this past spring, have been her main source of inspiration: “As one of their role models, it is very important to me to teach them the importance of social responsibility and serving a greater purpose than one’s self”.  Tammy hopes to “raise awareness about the water security issues facing our brothers and sisters in the Azawak, and motivate other parents to get their children’s schools involved with Amman Imman’s Wells of Love program”.   Click here to visit Tammy's page. You can help her reach her $5000 goal!

Mary Ohren Ran 60 miles in 12 hours for the Azawak!
This past June, Mary Ohren, ran 60.85 miles in 12 hours during the Lake Merritt race in Oakland, CA.  She finished the top female runner, and fourth overall.  But Mary did not run to win, she ran as a symbolic gesture and a way to raise funds and awareness for the families she met in the Azawak.  Thanks to her run, Mary raised over $3000 for the Azawak.

Mary and I first met and became friends as Fulbright scholars in Niger in 2005: Mary as a hydro-geologist conducting work in southern Niger, and I as a public health researcher.  Mary and I traveled to the Azawak together in 2007.  Here are her compelling reflections: “What I witnessed on this trip, even though I had spent a year observing the water scarcity in the southern part of the country, was incredible. How is it that such a beautiful, caring, culture-rich people such as this should have to spend the majority of their days harvesting water? The few water points were overflowing not with water but with people and animals, men washing and sometimes drinking from the same dirty trough as the donkeys, who were straining and falling in their attempts to lift only a few 10’s of gallons of water at a time from a great depth. I saw girls waiting to fill their buckets, miles from their homes. Fetching water instead of having the opportunity to attend school. These children were not running and playing as children should. They just gazed absently, exhausted and thirsty. The journeys that people make to get water in this region can be 15 miles each way. It takes all day to bring a bit back for the family… I will be running (shuffling toward the end) for 12 hours straight, to honor Ariane and to raise money that will bring water, the gift of life, to the wonderful people of the Azawak.”  Read more about Mary’s tremendous feat by clicking here.

Thank you Mary, Anya, Tammy, Laurel, and everyone else that has dedicated their precious energy in solidarity with the Azawak!!  Your actions and footsteps have made and will continue to make an incredible difference!  I hope that you will be joined by many many more!!

Sincerely yours, for the children of the Azawak!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Providing Water to Those in Need Builds Socioeconomic Bridges

Water—so simple, yet the issues surrounding the lack of the most basic human necessity are so complex. As someone who grew up in the Western, developed world, I find it difficult to understand the very real consequences of the global shortage of potable water. Although I do understand it on a theoretical level, the tangible, human implications are still lost on me, simply because the ineffable suffering resulting from lack of water is something I can only pretend to comprehend.  That being said, I feel that it behooves those of us who have never experienced true, fatal thirst to stop and reflect for a moment on some of these water issues and their importance.

In a very recent Boston Globe opinion article, the author, Janet Wu, offers a striking meditation on Boston's recent "water crisis." For approximately two and a half days, about 2 million residents of the city were forced to boil water because a water pipe had unexpectedly broken.  In the article, Wu discusses the lessons learned from an experience that was, at its worst, only an inconvenience. She describes the out-and-out hysteria that was felt throughout the city. And she rightly concludes that we, especially in America, are spoiled.  She writes, "How lucky we are that even our back-up water supply is clean enough that boiling makes it safe to drink. Think about the rest of the world and think twice about complaining."

Now of course, it is not my intention to spew hackneyed anti-American rhetoric. This is not the case at all. I endeavor only to understand why we in the First World are so far removed from the Third World's problems. And the reason, as can be seen from Boston's "water crisis," is as simple as the chemical composition of water itself. When we are surrounded consistently by all the basic human needs to sustain a healthy life, we automatically assume that our reality must be a reality for everyone else. We cannot fathom suffering because we are not exposed to it. The final problem is thus a matter of exposure.

And so, when I learn about organizations like Amman Imman, I see the solution to the seemingly irreconcilable disconnect between the developed and developing world. When those of us who have proactively inserted ourselves into a life we can only otherwise imagine in a rather distant way, it is only then that we begin to understand the world's dire problems realistically. Organizations—composed of individual people-- that accomplish tangible goals for those in need are, for one, materially relieving human suffering. But more than that, Amman Imman and similar global initiatives that target specific problems in specific areas are bridging the gap between two completely different worlds. And that is certainly something to celebrate.

This guest post is contributed by Mariana Ashley, who writes on the topics of online colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: mariana.ashley031@gmail.com

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Students have Saved Lives: One Step, Dribble, Hoola-hoop and Jump Rope at a Time

Amman-a-thon Youtube pic resized

Take Action to Save Lives by Joining our Heroes of Compassion!
Become a Hero of Compassion! Rally your school to join the Amman Imman Crusade!
 write to debbie@ammanimman.org for more information

Match the money raised by a Wells of Love School. Challenge a school to raise funds and match your pledged donation.

Support Anya as she runs to save lives in memory of her father!
October 31, 2010: Anya runs for water in the Marine Corps Marathon
AWFW Hershey resized
A student at Hershey Montessori walks for water, 2010.
AWFW Salmonberry resized

A Walk for Water, Salmonberry School, Orcas Island, 2007.

AWFW Lake Frank 2010 resized

A Walk for Water, Lake Frank, Maryland, 2010.

AWFW Boyd School 2010

Boyd School students, A Walk for Water, 2010.

Ammanathon practice resized

Students practice for their Amman-a-thon.

hand in hand resized 2

Crafts for sale, made by students, for their Well of Love.
Dear Friends of the Azawak,

In my last installment, I thanked our powerful Heroes of Compassion for their dedicated efforts toward building the Kijigari Well of Love.  Today, I want to tell you how they accomplished this amazing humanitarian feat.  I will describe our most successful annual fundraising events, which include our Walks for Water and Amman-a-thons, as well as other activities taken on by individual schools.  And near the end, I will also share with you some inspiring stories from some of our youngest Heroes of Compassion.

A Walk for Water
This May, I had the honor and privilege of joining two A Walk for Water events for the first time since they began in 2007.  The first I attended was organized by the Boyd school in Northern Virginia, where 100 students from all seven campuses came together in solidarity for the Azawak (in the meantime, 500 younger students were busy raising money through their Amman-a-thon event).  I also took part in the 4th annual Lake Frank Walk, which united six schools and several local organizations all sharing one goal: to honor and help the children of the Azawak. 

As I walked alongside students and parents, I realized how significant this simple symbolic gesture of hope was to the students as they empathized with their friends in Africa.  While some students complained of the heat and humidity, others reminded them that the children in the Azawak walk over 30 miles a day in 120 degree heat.  One small student proclaimed, “With every step we take here, we are one step closer to building our well of love.”  And one parent poetically compared her steps with flowers in Spring: “With every step we take, life is sprouting from our feet.”  It was riveting to witness the compassion and empowerment emanating from the students as they walked to help people that no one had even heard about five years ago.  They knew that they were saving lives and bringing hope to friends they had not met, but for whom they felt deep love and understanding… people that had otherwise been forgotten by the world.

For those of you unfamiliar with A Walk for Water, it is a community-building sponsorship event, which has been held in such diverse locations as the city streets of Wellington, New Zealand, a school ball field in New Jersey, Orcas Island in Washington State, on a rural Ohio farm school, on a wooded path around a lake in Maryland, and in a park in Virginia.  This walk is usually just a few miles, but it symbolizes the 30-miles that children in the Azawak travel every day in search for water.  Students participating in the walk ask for sponsorships from friends, family, neighbors, and even local companies to raise money for building Wells of Love.  Since 2007, we have raised over $50,000 from our annual Walks that take place across the world.

Amman-a-thons are skill-building events that combine athleticism and philanthropy.  Students are sponsored for each hoola hoop, basket ball dribble, jumping jack, jump rope, etc. that they do.  Amman-a-thon events began at the Oneness-Family School in Maryland, where an average of 30 first- through third-graders, ages six to nine, have continued to participate each year.  Schools across the nation have adopted these Amman-a-thons including the Boyd School, Five Oaks Academy and Cornerspring Montessori. These events are particularly well adapted for our youngest Heroes of Compassion, as they can raise awareness and funds right on the school grounds while having a bundle of fun. 

This May, I witnessed the six to nine year old students at the Oneness-Family School jump rope, hoola hoop, and dribble for their friends in the Azawak.  They took their Amman-a-thon very seriously, and even dedicated many practice days to prepare.  In past years, they had already astonished their sponsors by doing many more hoops and jumps than expected and they wanted to beat their past records this year. Amman-a-thons have raised over $17,000 since they began in 2008.

Other fun and creative awareness and fund raising events
Students at Yale University held a benefit concert and created a male beauty pageant, paralleling the traditional Guerwul festivals of the Fulani people of the Azawak.  Other schools participated in A Month without Water, during which families contributed a month’s amount of their water bill.  Yet another school held a student-written one-act play festival fundraiser.  Some Heroes of Compassion began a student-run soap making company, of which a portion of the profits went to Amman Imman.  Several schools have created gala and auction fundraising events.  Girl Scout troops have held bake sales.  A few schools have raised money, and obtained matching grants from local Rotary Clubs.  Still other Wells of Love schools have participated in our annual Hand in Hand campaign, where they have made crafts to sell to raise money.

Compassion Inspires Children of all Ages
As iterated by the Director of Salmonberry School, “Teachers and parents often underestimate children… when actually they are capable of such deep understanding and such wisdom and compassion.” Upon learning about the plight of the children in the Azawak, one six year old echoed these thoughts, explaining to his parents that he needed to design a system of roads to better transport the diesel and materials for digging the boreholes. Another seven year old drew plans for a robot that could dig our boreholes without the need for expensive equipment! A five year old begged his dad for a very big box. When his dad finally inquired, “Why do you need this box?” he replied that he was going to pack up bottles of water to send to Niger and that they would need the box to return the empty bottles so that he could refill them and send more! Yet another five year old boy smiled for the first time in school after hearing the story of the Azawak, knowing he could make a difference.  He went home and sold rosemary to his neighbors, raising over $100 in just one day for his newfound friends.

These combined efforts of each and every of our inspired and devoted Heroes of Compassion have resulted in a beautiful Well of Love in the village of Kijigari.  Every single child’s persistence and determination helped place each mud brick, faucet, and tube on our borehole infrastructure.  Thank you, Heroes of Compassion, for being powerful and saving lives!  Thank you for joining hand in hand with children and students across the world, and for continuously being my greatest source of inspiration!

Yours for the Children of the Azawak,

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