2014: Water Challenge
Clean Water

Water Challenge Recap

Beads raised $500,000 and brought clean water to 19,000 people

September 2013—May 2014

In partnership with charity: water and Global Nomads Group, Students Rebuild brought clean, safe drinking water to those who need it most. For every 20 handmade beads made by students, one person received access to clean water thanks to matching funds from the Bezos Family Foundation.

Challenge Quick Facts

All living creatures need clean water, especially children.

For many young people, water is a life and death issue. Over 10,000 children die every year from diarrhea because they don’t have access to clean water. Most of those are children under five years old. Things as simple as clean water for restrooms, hand washing, and drinking could reduce water-related deaths and give young people more time to be a kid, spend time with family, and attend school.

Water 1

Students around the world learned the importance of clean water.

As students created beads, they learned about the importance of clean water. Students learned that often women and girls carry the water (weighing nearly 44 pounds!) each day on their backs. Our teams also learned that water is too expensive to buy for families living on $1 a day, and that more than half the hospital beds in the world are occupied by people sick from water related illnesses.

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For every 20 beads you sent, 1 person got access to clean water.

To honor the people of Tanzania, we asked students to help bring them clean water through the symbolic gesture of creating a bead. Beads are a part of life in Africa. They’re often used for ceremonies and given or exchanged at significant life events. For thousands of years, African beads have been adornment, communication and currency. We set a goal to receiving 323,460 handmade beads. Your efforts blew past our goal; we received over 800,000 beads and unlocked $500,000 in funding from the Bezos Family Foundation.

Water 5

Your handmade beads funded 57 clean water projects.

The efforts of students worldwide helped support the build of 57 clean water projects and provide nearly 19,000 Tanzanians with access to clean, safe drinking water.

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Gallery

800,000 paper beads from 24 countries

Two artists joined the Water Challenge and volunteered their talents and time to create stunning projects with students’ creations. Accomplished London-based designer Anita Quansah created a dramatic gown and collar using your paper beads and other materials. Beyond the beauty of these objects, the heavy weight of the dress evokes the burden many women and girls bear as they collect water and travel long distances to transport it. Renowned visual artist Vik Muniz transformed Challenge items into a work of art, crafting images of four Tanzanian students made with your beads. The work is a homage to all Tanzanian students and our high hopes for their bright future through education. Watch the Water Challenge video featuring Vik Muniz!
Water Challenge Recap

At Salem Elementary, NC 5th graders carried a weight around the room while discussing the importance of water to understand how heavy it is to transport water!

The beauty is in the details. Photo via Bound Brook High School Art Club in New Jersey.

Designer, Anita Quansah created a dramic collar using your paper beads, glass beads, safety pins, cloth and other materials. This collar was auctioned to provide even more funds to charity:water's efforts in Tanzania.

The team at Sequoyah School in Pasadena, CA with their paper beads!

The team at Munford Elementary in Alabama kept their school on top of their goal of 16,000 paper beads!

Our friends at Davenport Central High School in Iowa are always so creative with their Challenge art pieces!

A collage from Sala de Leitura - EE Jose Reginato

Renowned artist Vik Muniz transformed beads into a work of art–an homage to all Tanzanian students and our high hopes for their bright futures through education.

Where we came from

Beads across borders

Here are the places our Water Challenge teams call home. Click through the map to learn more about each team.

Water Challenge Teaching Materials

The Challenge is over, but you can still make a difference.

Teaching materials from the Water Challenge are available for free download at any time.
Find curricula, videos, and more resources from all Challenges in our resource library.