Walking for Water: PS 89's Fundraiser For Indian Village

Children and parents parade through Rockefeller Park in support of the construction of a well in the Indian village. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jun. 03, 2013

“Give me a W! Give me an A! Give me a T!…” the kids shouted as they marched one morning last month carrying  a big hand-painted banner for the Pure Water Project. It was, in a way, a pep rally for clean water, something that the 750 PS 89 students, parents and staff recently learned is a precious commodity in an Indian farming village of 1,500 called Raipur.

Their mile-long walk around Rockefeller Park has so far raised more than $5,000 in pledges toward boring a 350-foot-deep well and piping the clean water to its residents, whose main water source is now a local pond.

“Our goal is to bring them access to clean water, to bring a healthier lifestyle and to eradicate disease,” said Ankur Crawford, a Battery Park City resident and one of four natives of India who are behind the Pure Water Project.

The work of the organization, begun by a Tibetan monk in 2002, has grown in India, but this is the first project initiated in the U.S. The group has less than $10,000 to go in reaching the $70,000 needed to finance the well and the piping, Crawford said.

Before the walk began, parents and students gathered in the PS 89 schoolyard for a “water dance.” Some kids made “waves” with a long blue sheet, while others danced in circles. A more practiced variation of the performance occurred in Rockefeller Park, as women from the New York chapter of Global Water Dances performed with the assistance of PS 89 dance teacher Catherine Gallant.

For the past three years, the school has held a Liberty Walk to help a Haitian school. Now, along with the water project, they are considering adopting a school in Raipur that lacks the basic supplies.

“We would be thrilled to support it,” Ankur said.