ST. JOSEPH, Mo.– A 10 year-old St. Joe girl is gaining international attention after receiving an award for her fundraising efforts. Madilynn “Matti” Maretoli was given the Humanity4Water International Award at the United Nations this week in New York City. The award is given in connection with UNICEF’s Global Interfaith Alliance.
Maretoli raised $5,600 to build a well in an African village.
She got the idea after reading a book, I Walk for Water.
“It’s about this kid in africa who has to wake up at the break of dawn every morning, and go walk for water for his family,” said Maretoli.
The fifth grader says the boy doesn’t go to school and never has free time to play. Maretoli says she felt sad for the boy and wanted to make a change. Her goal was $100, that quickly grew to $200. Then, with the help of her sister and the community, a 6k walk/run was put together called Walk4Water.
“We got all the way to the walk and we raised $5,000,” said Maretoli.
At school, Principal Michael Otto says Matti and her sister Tori are role models for other students.
“They showed that one person can demonstrate that they can make a difference in the world and they can make the world a better place,” said Matti.
While in New York, Maretoli says she attended workshops with other kids, brainstorming ways to create better water conditions in Africa.