Girl turns lemonade into water for Rwanda

Staff writer

Sadie Lange hopes the weather Saturday in Marion is hot. Warm weather means thirsty people, and thirsty people might want a cool glass of lemonade from her stand on South Freeborn Street.

Sadie, a second-grader at Marion Elementary School, wants to sell as much lemonade as she can because she’s on a mission: she wants to provide clean drinking water for the African country of Rwanda.

“A lot of children are walking a couple miles to get water that is from rivers and stuff, and it has a lot of germs in it. Kids are late to school from getting water,” Sadie said.

This is the second year Sadie is selling lemonade to benefit charity:water, an organization that funds projects to create sustainable sources of clean water in African countries that will last for decades. Sadie raised more than $800 in 2011 from sales and donations to help pay for a drilling rig to dig water wells in Ethiopia.

“You can give as much money as you want, and that’s how I get my money that I give to charity:water,” Sadie said.

Sadie learned about charity:water from her father, Jeremiah Lange. He was motivated to help after hearing the program’s founder speak at a conference.

“One of the things charity:water does is ask people to give up their birthday and ask people instead of presents to give to charity:water,” Lange said. “I raised a few hundred dollars.”

It was a website video Lange watched that helped Sadie decide she wanted to help, too.

“The first time I watched the video with my dad I saw most of the people in Africa didn’t have clean water, and I wanted them to have clean water,” Sadie said.

Sadie surpassed her goal of $500 last year, and charity:water CEO Scott Harrison sent a personal video thank-you to her via YouTube.com. She set a more ambitious target of $1,000 this time. As of Monday, her charity:water web page already had $1,280 in donations, some from as far away as Australia.

Rwanda is a mountainous country in central Africa about the size of Massachusetts. About 70 percent of the country’s 11.6 million people must walk to get water, according to charity:water’s website.

“Rwanda is made up of mountains, so they probably have to walk up at least half a mountain, and then they have to carry a very heavy bucket of water back to their house,” Sadie said. “They have to walk through these tiny little paths with no shoes on.”

Sadie said she hopes anyone who can will come by her lemonade stand Saturday.

“I think they should for charity:water, and they should because I think it might be a hot day,” Sadie said.

The lemonade stand at 411 S. Freeborn Street will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations can also be made at http://www.mycharitywater.org/sadieslemonade2012.

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