SISS Walkathon 2024 – for clean water in Africa

Located in Seeheim-Jugenheim, Germany, the State International School at Schuldorf Bergstraße is a hub for cultural diversity, internationalism, and social responsibility. For over 10 years, the school community of parents and students has organized a walkathon to address global issues. This year, on June 29, the team has set a particularly ambitious goal: to raise enough funds through the walkathon to finance the construction of a complete well. Following the WellBoring principles, this groundwater well will provide children at a primary school in Kenya and the community with permanent access to clean water and alleviate severe water shortages. In the following interview with the SISS Walkathon 2024 Student Leadership Team, we delve into their motivation, reasons, and expectations for this event.

Hannes, Zihan, Max, Johann – thank you for taking the time to talk during this busy final phase as SISS Walkathon Leadership Team members. Tell us about the walkathon. How long has it been around, and what is the goal of this event?

Max: Our walkathon started in 2009 and has been an annual event ever since. We organize it to raise funds for charitable causes—this year, for a well in Africa with WellBoring.

Hannes: We’re expecting about 200 to 300 participants this year, mainly students, teachers, and our families. Each runner is sponsored, and besides the actual running, there are plenty of activities. We have food stalls and activities like face painting. This not only brings fun but also strengthens our community spirit and helps us raise more donations A special guest will ensure a ‘dinosaur-sized’ good time – but that’s all we’ll say for now.

Johann: And let’s not forget the musical accompaniment and various games we organize to make the event attractive to families and participants of all ages. It’s like a big family festival, to which everyone in the region is invited.

Zihan: The preparation starts long before the actual walkathon. To raise funds for the organization ahead of time, we host bake sales at our school. With the proceeds, we finance the initial necessary purchases like materials for face painting and other essential equipment.

That’s impressive and a lot of work! Why did you decide to run for a well for children and families in Africa this year?

Hannes: We consciously chose this. We wanted to make a significant and sustainable impact, and the well theme emerged. We know that access to clean water can make a tremendous difference, especially for children and youth in water-scarce countries. When children don’t have to spend hours fetching water, they have more time for school and can build a better future.

Max: And it connects us on a very personal level with the project. Considering that we’re helping other children who deal with diseases due to contaminated water and other challenges daily is a very strong motivation.

Zihan: The issue of water is also closely linked to progress in women’s rights. By improving access to clean water, we especially enable girls to benefit from schooling and education instead of spending their time fetching water, which is often dirty and poses a risk. With safe access to clean water, they leave school better educated and have better job opportunities.

Johann: For me, it’s about sharing love and kindness. I see how fortunate I am in my life, and I want to give something back by helping others who are less fortunate. When I see how carelessly we sometimes use water here, and understand what a well can change for the poorest, it feels like a logical step.

Fantastic motivation! How did the students and school administration react to your initiative?

Johann: Well, the idea to build a well came from the students. Many of us realized how privileged we are, with our access to clean water and education. We wanted to have a long-term impact. Building a well seemed perfect for achieving this.

Max: Exactly, and it’s especially important to us that we advocate for people our age. We here have so many privileges, and by building the well, we want to help peers and younger ones on the other side of the world, enabling them to shape a better future locally through years of access to drinking water, education, and health.

How did you come across WellBoring?

Zihan: As mentioned, the student body had the idea to build a well. When we looked for suitable organizations, we found that most that build wells are not based in Germany, which would have posed some tax and organizational difficulties for us. We also wanted to ensure that our donation has a sustainable effect, we know where the well is built, and it’s a trustworthy organization. And of course, we want our well to be built in Africa in the name of SISS. WellBoring meets all these requirements.

Finally, do you have a message for the readers?

Hannes: Everyone can help! If you want to support our action, you can donate, engage via social media, or even participate in the walkathon. Every bit of help counts!

Thank you for your tremendous contribution to life and the future in Africa. We are impressed by your commitment and incredibly grateful for it.

Good luck at the Walkathon!

PS: Inspired by the creativity and commitment of SISS? If you, as a school or company, are planning a walkathon or a similar event, WellBoring Germany e.V. is here to support you. Contact us to make sustainable changes together!

The dedicated organizers of the 2024 charity run at the State International School, led by the Walkathon leadership team consisting of Hannes, Zihan, Max, and Johann, are collectively organizing the run to provide clean water for a school in Africa through WellBoring.
In 2023, an amazing €7,000 was raised for Oxfam. This year, the students will support WellBoring Germany e.V. The big goal: the first own well for a primary school, providing drinking water for over 1,000 children and families in rural Africa.
SISS Walkathon 2023 – Participants of all ages on the final stretch, united for a noble cause. In 2024, they aim to provide safe drinking water for children and their families by building a well at a rural primary school in Kenya through WellBoring.