Children Helping Children

April 5, 2016

An elementary school class has raised $23,000 to stop a blinding disease that spreads easily among  children who lack clean water. What began as a lesson in global health spiraled into a school-wide drive to help children in rural Ethiopia, where clean water is often hours from home.

What’s the UCSF connection? Proctor Foundation vision scientist Jeremy Keenan, MD, MPH, is the brother of the children’s teacher, Rebecca Keenan. Dr. Keenan’s team implements clean water strategies in Ethiopian villages, part of a larger strategy to eradicate trachoma – the infectious eye disease that is epidemic in developing countries.

In a clever video taken by Ms. Keenan, students pose as news anchors for Carpenter School and present reports on how clean water can change children’s lives. The children asked to share the video to raise $15,000 for a new deep well. Villages can use the help, as drought in Ethiopia has escalated the costs of reaching underground water.

By exceeding their goal, these compassionate students are funding one deep well, one hand-dug well, a set of latrines, and many home sanitation stations! A school-wide assembly honored the class and featured videotaped thank yous from Dr. Keenan and the staff of That Man May See.