Posted 11/03/2010 10:38AM

Every year our Upper School students choose a humanitarian cause to support - led by members of the National Honors Society.

This year the students have chosen Amman Imman - an NGO founded and directed by ASP Alum Ariane Kirtley - which brings water and life to a drought-ridden and forgotten corner of Africa.


ASP is delighted to welcome Ariane on campus again on Friday November 5 to meet and work with children from Lower, Middle and Upper School.

The mission of Amman Imman: Water is Life, is to bring water to the people of the Azawak area in Niger where every year hundreds of people die of thirst and disease.

In November last year, she spent a full day presenting to captive audiences in the Lower, Middle and Upper School about her work and how empowered children can be to help other children.

And she returns to continue to inspire our students as they launch their own fundraising efforts in support of Amman Imman.

Ariane, graduated from ASP in 1996, attended Yale University majoring in Medical Anthropology and went onto receive her Masters from the Yale School of Public Health.

After graduation she obtained a Fulbright Scholarship and spent a year traveling across Niger studying the variations among different ethnic groups concerning health behavior, knowledge and resources.

During that time she visited a region called the Azawak and was astonished by the dire conditions she witnessed:  “I saw children traveling up to 30 kilometers a day in temperatures as high as 125F searching for water. The children would return with cups of mud, and my visit fell during the rainy season!  I returned a few months later to witness for myself how such a terrible situation could worsen. I saw a population of over 500,000 people suffering from a sheer lack of water.”

The rainy season in this area, such as it was with a few minutes of rainfall each day, has reduced from five months to just 30 days over the last 10 years. 

But she also brings a message of hope and empowerment. Since 2005 Ariane has established the NGO Amman Imman which means “Water is Life” in the language of the Azawak people, and is raising funds to build bore-hole wells, drilling nearly 1000meters to reach the clean and plentiful water below the desert.

She explained:  “Water allows you to grow your own food, build an adobe home and allows a family to stay clean and avoid disease. It also means children can spend their day at school rather than skimming through muddy marshes and the presence of water attracts other NGOs to invest in the region – to build schools and health centers, set-up food relief programs, and combat the environmental degradation of the region.”