by Tori Hamby
Many boys wish for the latest videogame system or electronic gadget for their 13th birthday, but Cannon School seventh-grader Ben Wyatt wants to bring fresh drinking water to the impoverished villages of Tanzania.
Ben, the son of James and Edna Wyatt of Davidson, raised more than $4,000 for One World, an organization he created to provide financial support to Mary Medical Mission, of Marion, Ill., an organization that digs shallow fresh water wells in Tanzania and Milawi.
“Water shortage is a devastating problem around the world that many don’t think about,” Ben said. “Water is such an overused commodity in the U.S.”
Ben raffled off an iPad, a pair of Beats Solo high-definition headphones and an iPod Nano to raise the money. Tickets sold for $10 each, the amount needed to help one person gain access to clean water in Africa. Each participant also received a bookmark that Ben designed.
Although the raffle is over, he continues to raise money for One World, and he wants to travel to Africa with Marion Medical Mission to dig wells once he gets a little older. “I’m going to continue as long as I can because the need for water is never going to go away,” he said.
The young philanthropist’s interest in providing fresh water to Africa began a couple years ago, as an elementary school student, after he saw an IMAX movie at Discovery Place on a field trip with Woodlawn School.
Although he initially endeavored to raise enough money to pay for one well, which cost about $350, he created One World to continue his fundraising efforts. The $4,000 will enable Marion Medical Mission to provide Tanzanians with 10 wells.
Those who want to donate to One World may do so by mailing a check, payable to One World, to Ben at 204 Avinger Lane, Davidson, N.C. 28036 or visiting his Facebook page, Ben on a Mission, where he lists a link to his organization’s Paypal account.