Humanitarian Aid

Becoming a Water Warrior: Fiona’s Story

World Concern
September 26th, 2018
Fiona and her completed science fair project about water filtration.

She’s a warrior.

A water warrior, that is!

Fiona, now a high school freshman, raises money to provide water filters for families without access to clean water.

But she wasn’t always so passionate about water filters. So how did Fiona become such a passionate water warrior?

Discovering the Need for Clean Water

It all started with a simple question. What would you do if there was no running water?

Fiona’s mind began to spin. There seemed to be many possibilities, but would they work?

With the science fair coming up, it was a natural fit for Fiona’s curiosity to choose water filtration as her project.

Fiona studied in-depth the effectiveness of different water filters, performing experiments with lake water and other contaminated water sources. To her surprise, all of them worked—some better than others.

But despite her studies and experiments, Fiona felt something missing. She wanted to know how the filters worked—not hypothetically, but to help.

So after completing her science fair project, Fiona’s parents encouraged her to think bigger. To not just think about how this water impacts herself but the world around her.

At World Concern, Fiona learned about the need for clean water in some of the world’s poorest, most remote places.  She saw the ceramic water filters used in places like Myanmar and South Sudan and an example of a parasite that lives in dirty water, infecting the children and parents who drink the contaminated water.

“It was so gross!” she exclaimed, remembering the parasite. “I couldn’t believe people were drinking that.” From her research, Fiona knew how critical clean water is for survival and was shocked to learn how many people do not own a filter to prevent disease.

Becoming a Water Warrior

A spark had ignited.

Returning home, Fiona began a campaign for water filters—herself being the first donor.

Then she began to talk about water filters. She told the science fair judges, her sisters at home, and classmates at her homeschool co-op about the life-changing impact of a clean water filter.

The desire to help was infectious. Before she knew it, Fiona’s classmates organized bake sales and collected spare change in jars to raise money for water filters. They were so moved by the impact of clean water they gathered over $400 in loose bills and change!

Fiona even organized her friends into a team for the S.O.S. 5k that takes place every May in Shoreline. The team name? Water Warriors, of course! And for every kid that signed up for the race, a generous donor matched their registration* with the gift of a water filter! Fiona’s passion and efforts were spreading far beyond her original goal.

"Even One Water Filter Helps"

When she started fundraising, Fiona had no idea the response she would generate. She expected to raise money for a few filters, not anywhere near the 51 she and her fellow fundraisers provided so far, raising almost $2,000!

So we asked her—how would you encourage someone who’s unsure of starting their own fundraiser?

“Just do it—it will be worth it,” she said without missing a beat. “You can’t really mess up. However much money you raise, it’s helping! Even just one water filter helps.”

You don’t have to start big, Fiona encouraged. Follow the example of her classmates and place a small jar in your home or office to collect small change. You’ll be surprised how quickly it multiplies!

Inspiring the Next Generation 

Fiona was quick to put the emphasis on what she’s truly about—helping others. And, it was her parents’ excitement about global issues and giving that helped spark her own interest!

With her family's encouragement and support, Fiona began fundraising. It wasn’t ok for families to drink dirty water and, with the help of her parents, Fiona found out she could do something about it. So she did.

Oftentimes setting an example for the next generation is what inspires them to act. What example can you be for others?

Today, Fiona hopes to continue raising money for water filters and teaching people about the need.

*With 95 youth registrations, that meant 95 clean water filters were sent to families around the world!