Students Raise Money for "Wells Bring Hope"

As Americans, we don't face the daily challenge of finding water. Whether it comes from a fountain a few feet away or a market down the street, water is always nearby.

The women and children of Niger, West Africa do not have the luxury of taking water for granted. They walk miles, sometimes two or three times a day, to find enough water to provide for their families. In many cases the wells are far enough away to require a day's walk and children's education is interrupted by this constant search for fresh water.

Recently, the struggle to obtain water has alerted the interest of Santa Monica College students. They have joined forces with the organization "Wells Bring Hope," a charity founded in 2008 by Barbara Goldberg, which brings water to rural areas in Africa. "Our vision is to save lives with safe water," Goldberg said.

Since the organization's founding they have partnered with former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti and together raised enough funding for 27 wells which provide clean water to about 15,000 people.

SMC Communications Professor Nancy Grass-Hemmert, is a member of the Global Citizenship task force and is involved in the study abroad subcommittee. Grass-Hemmert requires her students to do a form of charity work each semester and "Wells Bring Hope" was the choice this semester. The goal is to raise $6,000, which "Wells Bring Hope" will match, though some groups of students have set a personal goal to double the projected earnings.

"We really want to be able to not only go above and beyond in raising the money, but promote awareness about the cause and how more people can get involved," said SMC student Ariana Hernandez.

Hernandez is just one of many students involved with raising money for the "Wells Bring Hope" foundation. From selling bracelets to planning a concert in May, the ambitious students work closely together with Barbara Goldberg to make this vision come true.

"We hope to be able to save lives—bottom line. That is our goal: to get wells to people in Africa so they don't have to suffer anymore," said Hernandez.

Hernandez is not the only student at SMC in the mindset of helping. John Lewis and his group also have their own ideas for raising money. Students are planning to host a concert at an off-campus venue. Another group is going to use the faculty flex day to allow SMC students and faculty members to have their pictures taken with mascot Pico the Pirate. They are finding creative ways to reach their goal.

After learning more about the cause, the students involved in raising money for "Wells Bring Hope" have become more passionate about helping the organization. They hope to expand their reach beyond Niger to other areas in Africa in the future.

For more information about the organization or to join the team by building safer wells, visit or go to YouTube‘s "Wells Bring Hope – Drilling wells to bring safer water to West Africa".

"We have massive potential power to change the world," said Goldberg, "and it just shows how so little could do so much."