LuAnn Adams, a storyteller, introduces the tale of hummingbird at The École school in New York.For his part, he pledged to do whatever he can to conserve the precious resource at home. “It sometimes feels wrong to use water for scrubbing the washroom or for washing hands, when we don’t even have good drinking water at school” he said. According to UN figures, 1.4 million people die annually and 74 million will have their lives shortened due to diseases related to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene. Worldwide, one in four, or two billion people, lack safe drinking water. Nearly half of all the wastewater coming out of households – from their toilets, sinks, drains and gutters – flows back into nature without harmful substances removed.
Here in New York, The École, a French-American school, engaged all classes from kindergarten to 8th grade in a World Water Day workshop, in which the students folded pieces of square paper into hummingbirds and wrote their commitments on them. UN News/Grace Barret “I realized that, like ‘a drop in the ocean’, what makes a big swell worldwide is our small action,” said a student at Nishi-Uji Junior High School in Kyoto. Jean-Yves Vesseau, Principal at The École school in New York. LuAnn Adams, a storyteller, who performed her hummingbird puppet show at the school, told UN News that a hummingbird doing the right thing, even alone, creates unity of “many in body and one in mind”, meaning that all the other animals would eventually follow her lead when “they see the teeny tiny creature is exerting her all.” Derrick Ofori, a teacher, said that his students lack drinking and handwashing water at school, expressing hope that leaders gathering at the UN conference “do whatever they can” to provide his communities with multiple sources of water. School children from around the world are participating in the World Water Day 2023 campaign.
“All of a sudden, that unity that spreads like a ripple, you know, gets into a wave, and a huge wave that can do something so masterful for the world.”
Jan de Vries Assan, a 13-year-old student, told UN News that he often starts the day by joining a long queue to get water, before school. “The water crisis has affected my academic performance,” he said, adding that by the time he finishes domestic chores, morning lessons will have been over. As part of this, the United Nations is mobilizing school children to make a global bouquet of origami hummingbirds, which will be on display at UN headquarters during the Water Conference, as a way to connect the registered participants to the children whose future is at stake. Nearly 400 paper hummingbirds departed Japan, where origami, or the art of folding paper into shapes and figures, originates. About 50 origami birds left Independence Avenue 1&2 Junior High School in Accra, Ghana, carrying the commitments penned by the pupils.