Review by Yasmin Almaskari
YOUTH GIVING WATER A VOICE
We all know that water is an essential part of life, but do we all value it? This is what we are being asked by the United Nations this March as we celebrate World Water Day. As a senior year student at Mleih School in Abu Dhabi, I’ve always treasured the environment and made every effort to protect nature. It truly saddens me to see water taken for granted. I often see this happening at schools and on social media. As I wondered what other youths do to value water, I came across Cory’s Adventures, a short story written by young student ambassadors with Water Alliance UAE.
“Cory’s Adventures: The Mystery of the Disappearing Soil” underscores the prominent roles of soil biodiversity and water. It aims to raise awareness among children and empowers the youth to learn more about these issues from the adventures that spiral throughout the book. The story of Cory, an intrepid parrot, encourages people to explore and enrich their understanding of this topic, which is central to our future survival.
The young students, from ages 7 -13 years old, worked profoundly to produce a book appealing to children. Together, they created a touching story with a powerful message. As Hridhaan Rajani from Global Indian International School explains “water is essential to support biodiversity.” Water and soil biodiversity are the foundation for a wholesome food production system. “I wish children around the world could read our story and understand the importance of soil conservation and how it’s important for society to give back to Mother Earth if we want to continue having a healthy, balanced life,” expressed Isha Rajeev Nair, from Kings School Nad Al Sheba. Throughout November, Water Alliance’s young Student Ambassadors worked diligently to write, illustrate, and produce the book. “I loved how we worked together, how duties were divided, and the sheer positive energy that was present throughout the process. Cory’s tale is not just any story. It is a cumulative product of many young, passionate change-makers working together with the hope of creating a story that will bring about a transformative change,” explained Mishal Faraz from GEMS Winchester School.
The story was unveiled at the Emirates Soil Museum’s virtual event, with leading experts on soil biodiversity to mark World Soil Day on 5th December 2020. They additionally took part in a public reading event at Down to Earth, organized by Jameel Arts Centre in mid-December. The short story was also entered in the United Nations Food and Agriculture organization’s annual award.
Writing about such an incredible initiative deeply compelled me. As I read each word, I was reminded of how fragile the balance of life truly is. While the chain of events escalates throughout the book, we see the risks of soil biodiversity loss and the roles it plays to the world above. After reading it, I’d say it speaks to older students and adults as well! Water Alliance inspires the youth to take the lead in raising awareness about troublesome issues through their Water Ambassador Program.
Youth has an immense role in fulfilling a better future for us all. Water Alliance nurtures youth leaders to learn, interact, and act. “This collaborative project and our regular work together have enabled us to see our Youth Ambassadors grow and contribute to something beyond themselves,” noted Edurne Gil, Program Director. As I was told by Mir Faraz, a student at GEMS Winchester School, “There’s more to water conservation than turning off the tap or taking shorter showers. There are hidden drops of water that are lost without even being noticed – the water used to cultivate crops or the water which goes into manufacturing clothes. Hence, curbing food wastage is water conservation, using commodities till the end of their life span is water conservation, and so on. The problem is more profound than we can imagine.” That brought the message home for me. Every one of our actions impacts the availability and the purity of water. We can all do better and I, for one, will continue my quest to protect our Planet.
Do your part on World Water Day and find out more about Water Alliance here: www.wateralliance.org or follow their social media @waterallianceuae
– – Written by Yasmin Almaskari, Senior Year Student at Mleih School, Abu Dhabi, 1st March 2021