COLUMBIA — For three hours on Sunday, Stephens Lake Park was transformed into an interactive classroom. The lesson was about life in Africa.
Five seniors at Stephens College were responsible for the transformation. The students held "A Walk in their Shoes," an interactive walk around the park, from 1 to 4 p.m. to raise money for and awareness about a nonprofit, The Hunger Project. By walking barefoot and carrying buckets of water, participants were able to experience what some Africans experience every day.
The Hunger Project is a global, non-profit organization that creates programs and classes to educate people about clean water, the cycle of hunger and related topics in an effort to end world hunger.
The students specifically designated the money they raised for work in Ghana.
“Education was a primary goal of ours," said organizer Chrisena Ricci, Stephens College senior. "We really want to educate people in Columbia about how life in Africa is so different from how it is here. The best way to do that is to let people live through it."
Participants who walked along the trail encountered signs intended to raise awareness. Signs read, “In 2000, 300 million Africans did not have access to safe water” and “The average distance that women in Africa walk to collect food or medical care is 6 kilometers, usually without shoes.”
Most at the event were Stephens College students.
"I liked the carrying the water because it made me think more about what women in Africa have to go through," said Hannah Crown, a Stephens College freshman. "I think the event was successful because they got donations and it was really informative."
The Stephens students raised $146.53 for The Hunger Project, and 40 people participated.
“It’s our duty as human beings to take care of other human beings," Ricci said. "It’s not only a duty but it should be a privilege."