Water is an essential part of life that is often taken for granted. One in every ten people lack access to clean water, and one in three people don’t have access to a toilet, according to water.org. The water dilemma is the reason why H20 for Life Uganda was created.

H20 for Life Uganda is a non-profit organization that works to provide safe water for people all over the world. Patty Hall, a school teacher from Minnesota, led a fundraiser at her middle school to purchase water wells for Kathungu Village in Kenya after receiving desperate pleas for help from the community.

Anita Nicoson, a teacher at Clarendon Elementary School, soon discovered this program, and for three years has now helped spread two of the organization’s main messages: water conservation and appreciation.

“I have never done anything like it before,” Nicoson admitted. “I wanted to do something my students to connect to that was about kids their age.”

The Mukwonago Education Foundation donated about $350 to Nicoson. The money was used to purchase mulch, dirt, top soil, and other materials for the rain garden located over by the district office.

Rain gardens are depressions in the ground that provide natural filtration for shrubs and perennials to grow. These gardens conserve rain water through gutters, driveways, and other sources. The water is then reused to hydrate plants in the garden, rather than wasting water. Students are able to learn about water conservation through tending the rain garden during the school year.

“It’s one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever done. I just want them to realize that it’s our number one issue with water around the world. I just wanted my students growing up and being aware of this,” Nicoson said.

The students have demonstrated a positive, enthusiastic response to caring for the rain garden and learning more about natural plants and roots. One student in particular was so motivated by the rain garden that she informed her girl scout troop about the rain garden project and got her troop to raise money H20 for Life Uganda.

In the future, Nicoson hopes to extend the rain garden even further, providing more opportunities for students to become conscious of the world around them.

“I want my students to grow up a little more globally aware. Sometimes when we grow up in a small community, we care more about the community, which is important. But the things going on in the world also make a huge impact on us too,” Nicoson replied.