Middle School Sisters Slap Out Waterborne Illness: Hun Students Isabelle ’16 and Cecilia Varga ’17 Provide LifeStraws to Fifty-five African Families
Posted April 10, 2012
Sisters Isabelle ’16 and Cecilia Varga ’17 recently raised enough money to provide fifty-five African families with life-saving water filtration devices. PermaNets and LifeStraws are simple devices that combat and prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. The girls created Slap Out Bracelets, LLC, to support their cause after learning about malaria and other waterborne diseases in their respective Hun School science classes.
While researching methods of malaria prevention for an Interdisciplinary Eradication Project in Madeline Fulton’s eighth grade science class and Joan Nuse’s geography class, Isabelle found the European company Vestergaard Frandsen. Their PermaNet product uses two types of fabrics and chemical insecticides to prevent mosquitoes from infecting people. Cecilia independently learned of LifeStraws, another product from the same company, in her seventh grade science class. LifeStraws are point-of-use water filters that help individuals convert natural water into safe drinking water.
“I was proud of my eradication plan and wanted to put it into action,” said Isabelle. It wasn’t long before the two sisters discovered their overlapping interest and came up with an idea for global action.
Working with fellow students, Isabelle and Cecilia launched a campaign to raise money for PermaNets and LifeStraws. Through the sale of tee-shirts, sunglasses, pens, and other small items, the Varga sisters have already earned enough money to purchase 55 LifeStraws at $6.50 USD a piece. Through the sale of aHa Water tee-shirts, their classmates raised enough money to purchase an additional 90. With Ms. Fulton’s assistance, they will ship approximately 150 straws to hospitals in Africa for distribution.
“I am proud of the Varga sisters for going above and beyond the parameters of their science assignments and for taking it to the next level,” said Ms. Fulton. “They took initiative and implemented a plan(s) which will truly save people’s lives. The girls have taken what they have been taught and analyzed a situation, collected the data, applied what they learned and synthesized in a way that makes me very proud of them. They are global citizens with wonderful critical thinking skills. What more could a science teacher want?”