In conjunction with non-profit organization Free the Children, the UTM Interfaith Committee coordinated a Clean Water Campaign on January 19. They incorporated three-on three-basketball and two-on-two badminton tournaments to help raise money for this cause.
We thought using sports would demonstrate a way of people coming together to unite as a team, Amani said. Sports lead to teamwork and everybody was playing for a good cause. With these two sports, since they dont really fall under the same category, we felt as though we could attract a diverse set of students.
As a part of Free the Childrens adopt a village model, the Interfaith Committee chose to support the Clean Water Project, as all faiths require the same basic nutritional needs. This project was developed to provide clean water and education for young girls in rural communities, where they typically travel miles to collect from water sources, limiting their time available for education. Additionally, contaminated water is a rising issue in developing countries. The money raised by the Clean Water Campaign will fund the construction of wells and sanitation shops.
Not many people know about Free the Children, said event co-ordinator Amani Akhtar. We felt that this event was necessary to increase student awareness of child poverty, while providing us [with] an opportunity to unite people of all faiths together.
Contaminated water has become a massive global problem, resulting from industrial biowaste and raw sewage that are not properly sanitized before entering the water supply. The World Health Organization reported in 2007 that 1.1 billion people lacked access to clean drinking water and that 1.8 million people die from contaminated water each year.
Despite the winners of each tournament receiving $20 gift certificates for Square One, competitors agreed that it was not about winning or losing.
It wasnt about winning, said badminton player Zayd Mughal, who lost all four of his matches. This was done to spark awareness about Free the Children, to socialize with people of different faiths, and to come together as a team for some friendly competition.
Approximately $800 was raised from the event.
Free the Children institutes itself across 45 countries, prioritizing the freedom of children from poverty and exploitation. The organization supports over one million youths in their innovative education and development programs and has constructed more than 500 schools worldwide.
Free the Children is currently active in critical relief work in Haiti after a devastating earthquake destroyed its capital.