Spencer Avenue Elementary School students raise funds for hippo rollers

June 1, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

A student at Orangeville’s Spencer Avenue Elementary School has taken an initiative to raise funds for Hippo Rollers – devices to carry clean water more easily and efficiently than traditional methods – by getting the students to walk around the school building, letting them imagine the hardships African students go through to get water.

Grade. 8 student Emma Wren is the brains behind the fundraising and walk, held last Friday (May 26). Her ultimate goal is to raise $1,250, which will buy 10 Hippo Rollers. At the time of the event, she raised $267, enough for two rollers.

She says she was inspired after reading a book in class called “A long walk to water” following the lives of those in Africa who walk on average six kilometres a day to get water, and her initiative is part of her “20time project” designed to make something change the world.

“You hear all these stories about water crises in other countries, you never actually experience it for yourself. It made me think what they have to go through.”

She says she’s very excited to help others because, “We’re so fortunate to have what we have in Canada, so I want to make them as fortunate as us.”

Her teacher, Jaime Wouters, thinks it’s amazing what she’s doing and the school has been very excited and supportive. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done as a teacher to let kids follow their passion, and do things that are connected to the real world, experiences they’re passionate about and they feel make a difference… I can’t imagine a greater purpose to learning in general.”

A Hippo Roller, first invented in South Africa in 1991, is designed to hold more water at once, saving time and energy. It’s a barrel that rolls along the ground, with a handle attached to the axis of the barrel.

According to the Hippo Roller website, the barrels can carry 90 litres, five times more than the one bucket otherwise carried, and has helped “more than 20 countries, with a total distribution of 50,000 Hippo Water Rollers, and a reach of close to half a million people.”

After a brief presentation, students and teachers did 14 laps around the school, equivalent to 6 km. Students attempted putting one bucket on top of their heads, to see how difficult it is carrying that much water, helping to imagine the struggles one goes through.

For more information on hippo rollers, visit

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.