CHIJ students gathered at CHIJMES and walked to Marina BarrageCHIJ students gathered at CHIJMES and walked to Marina Barrage

About 10,000 present and former Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) students took part in a walk from CHIJMES to Marina Barrage to mark World Water Day on March 16.

The Walk for Water was also to conclude the IJ congregation’s 350th anniversary celebrations.

Students from all 11 CHIJ schools gathered at CHIJMES and moved off in batches of 500 starting at 7.30am. Also present were teachers, principals and the IJ board of management.

“We pray for a deepened awareness of our responsibility for this earth of ours, that it may be a place that offers solace and sustenance to all…especially the gift of water, so essential to human life and dignity,” prayed Sr Deirdre O’Loan, supervisor of the IJ board of management, before the walk began.

During the walk, which lasted between 30 and 45 minutes, the students waved flags indicating the schools and classes they were from and cheered each other on.

When they reached Marina Barrage, 1,200 of them, together with students of other schools and Public Utilities Board’s (PUB) corporate partners, gathered to form a giant human water droplet of 3,000 people.

Guest-of-honour Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also joined in the activity, held on the roof top of Marina Barrage. In his address, he stressed the importance of conserving water and using it responsibly.

During the celebration, Ms Vivienne Lim, chairperson of the IJ board of management, spoke on the IJ spirit of contributing to society. A video, featuring CHIJ’s 350th anniversary celebrations, held from 2012-2013, was also screened.

Students interviewed said the walk helped them appreciate the value of water.

“Participating in World Water Day helps generate awareness by showing the importance of water and how precious it is, especially in Singapore and some parts of the world where water is limited,” said Primary Six pupil, Cheryl Vanessa Devan, from CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace.

“We have mission trips in my school and the trips teach us to put the less fortunate before ourselves,” said Ooi Sze Shen, a Secondary Four student at CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh).

“On a trip to Vietnam, I found it was difficult to find fresh drinking water, so World Water Day encourages us to appreciate how precious water is.”

Mrs Tan-Lim Kim Gek, principal of CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace and a member of the organising committee, said they wanted the students to “commit to water conservation” and celebrate the 350th anniversary at the same time. “We decided to work with PUB for this event to make a difference in protecting our environment,” she said.

World Water Day was also celebrated in other parts of Singapore on March 16. The theme for the celebrations this year is Every Drop Counts.

By Martin See
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