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Opinion

Dwyer: ‘Long Walk To Learn’ to raise awareness about South Sudan

View the photo accompanying this column – figuratively, could you walk a day in these girls’ shoes?

At 1 p.m. Oct. 6 you will have the chance to find out.

The Geneva Lions and Geneva Leos are having their first “Long Walk To Learn” at Mooseheart, located on Route 31, just north of North Aurora and south of Batavia.

This event is well be held to raise awareness and funds to support Literacy At The Well in South Sudan.

Lions Club International has made a 10-year commitment to raise the literacy rate around the world through its Reading Action Program.

Literacy is a necessary skill for health, safety and stability in a person’s life.

The local organization, Lost Boys Rebuilding Southern Sudan, has developed the program to bring education to the wells where women and girls wait in long lines for safe water for their families.

They walk on average two miles to reach the wells, wait hours in line, fill their jerricans with water and walk two miles home, carrying 40 pounds of water on their heads.

This leaves little time to attend classes, so Literacy At The Well turns waiting time at the wells into an opportunity to learn how to read and write.

The women and girls bring the lessons they learn at the wells home to their families and neighbors.

Today in South Sudan, only one out of 10 women and three out of 10 men are able to read and write.

Without literacy, citizens are not equipped to manage the systems their new nation needs, such as electricity, running water, education, roads and clinics.

The trail through the woods and around the lake of Mooseheart provide the perfect setting to experience a “walk to the well.”

There will be stations along the way where walkers can meet Lost Boys and learn more about life in South Sudan.

This will be a great opportunity for your whole family to enjoy a day together, while helping to equip families in South Sudan with literacy.

Mooseheart also happens to be home to several South Sudanese students who are gaining skills they will use to help their new nation.

The Geneva Lions and Leos are grateful for the use of this beautiful location.

Register for the Long Walk To Learn at www.RebuildingSouthernSudan.org. The cost is $20 before Oct. 4 and $25 on the day of the event.

Pre-registered walkers will be able to quickly pick up their T-shirts and packet on the day of the event.

All proceeds will support Literacy At the Well. Checks should be made out to LBRSS; donations are tax deductible.

If you have any questions, please call 630-513-0382.

• Wendi Dwyer lives in Geneva with her husband, Tim, and their four children. She is the executive director of Lost Boys Rebuilding Southern Sudan and also is an active member of the Geneva Lions Club. Contact her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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