At a glance: United States of America

New Yorkers walk a mile in other children’s shoes

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© UNICEF video
On World Water Day, hundreds of New Yorkers walked one mile in support of clean drinking water.

By Chris Niles

NEW YORK, USA, 23 March 2009 – On World Water Day, hundreds of New Yorkers walked one mile in support of something that they can afford to take for granted – clean drinking water.

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New York City’s water system, which supplies the city’s 8.3 million people with fresh water, is one of the best in the world.

The Tap Project Water Walk gave young New Yorkers the chance to see what reality is like for the more than one billion people across the world that don’t have that privilege.

Carrying a gallon of water
Walking a mile in other children’s shoes, the participants each carried a gallon of water around southern Manhattan.

“In many countries, children are the primary gatherers of their family’s daily supply of clean, safe, drinking water, spending an entire day travelling to distant water sources instead of attending school,” said President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Caryl Stern.

“The Water Walks help address not only the struggle that these children face, but the fact that they need clean water to survive,” she added.

Safe water for every child
Young people in Chicago also marched to mark the start of World Water Week, which aims to get safe drinking water to every child and to eliminate deaths from water-borne diseases.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video
Walking a mile in other children’s shoes, the participants each carried a gallon of water around southern Manhattan.

1.5 million children die each year from diseases related to unsafe water, and it’s the second largest killer of children under the age of five. Of all babies born in the developing world each year, about half live without basic sanitation, and one in five live without access to safe drinking water.

‘Anyone can do something’
Project organizers hope that the walks will inspire those in the developed world to campaign for fresh water for everybody, no matter where in the world they live.

“Anyone, no matter how young, no matter how old, can do something to help this cause,” said Tap Project Youth Leader Arhea Marshall. “It isn’t something like a medical cause that you need a PhD to help with. It’s something that you can help with anywhere in any situation, any part of the world.”


 

 

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22 March 2009: UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on the Tap Project Water Walk in New York City.
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