Walk for Water: The power of young leadership


Whenever kids want to impact the world, you can trust that they will. My name is Matti Maretoli, and I am now 14 years old. I want to introduce you to the child-founded organization, Walk For Water.

When I was 10 years old, I was in the car with my mom on the way to my taekwondo class. I read the book “I Walk For Water by Lindsey Andrews, who is involved in Children’s HopeChest. It broke my heart to know that kids just like me had to sacrifice their education in order to retrieve water for their families each day. The child in this book walked over three miles every day just to get water that wasn’t even clean. Right then I decided that I wanted to make a difference.  I went into taekwondo class empowered and told everyone the story that had impacted me so much.

By sharing the story, I raised $15 by the end of the class and quickly decided to do more. I set a new goal to raise $100 and people were eager to contribute. I told the story to everyone I knew and soon was able to change my goal to $200. When I told the story to some of my friends and my youth director at church, we decided to to organize a 6k walk that would simulate the same walk the boy in “I Walk For Water” did daily. This is how Walk For Water was born.



The first year of Walk for Water was just my friend Sam and I, and we did everything ourselves with the help of the chauffeur adults. As then 9 and 10-year-old kids, we went around and asked businesses to support this cause, raising awareness for an issue that they’d  never heard of. Many people were skeptical about handing $100 checks over to a kid, but several people were happy with getting onboard with our idea. We made our new goal $5,000 (the average amount to build a well).

The walk was a success and we donated the funds to build a well in Uganda, which I had the opportunity to visit the following summer. Each summer after that, we arranged a full 6k walk and raised additional funds. We now have an entire youth committee that assists in making decisions, collecting money, and raising awareness for the cause. Walk for Water has raised over $25,000 and helped build eight wells so far. Some of the locations we’ve funded wells in include Guatemala, India, and North Haiti.



This year we’ve decided to partner with Children’s Hopechest and Nabukalu CarePoint to help fund a borehole in a village where we know many people, including our sponsor child.  We hope to continue this program for many more years to come and want everyone to remember that even kids can make a difference.