10-year-old North Dakota girl turns author to aid Africa

Friday, June 7, 2019

WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota grade-school girl who raised $26,000 from selling cookies and handbags to help children and others in south-central Africa get clean water is turning to writing to raise even more money.

Sawyer Anderson, 10, of West Fargo, unveiled a book Thursday titled Water Works, which she wrote and illustrated to draw attention to the challenges that poverty-stricken villagers face in getting safe water. All proceeds from the $10 book will go toward building water wells in Africa.

Sawyer got the idea after her father took a mission trip to Zambia. Although she modified some of the stories to suit younger audiences, the book is based on real-life stories. Her inspiration was a boy her age named Brian, whose arm had to be amputated after he was bitten by a poisonous snake while fetching water. Brian’s sister drowned in an old, deep well.

“The stories are just really sad and just really got to me,” Sawyer said. “I just thought that this is unfair. They need help. It shouldn’t be like this. They should have clean water.”

She started out selling cookies at a rummage sale put on by her grandmother, who wound up baking 80 dozen of them. Her story of hawking cookies to help Brian went viral and soon people started donating money and telling her to keep the cookies. After raising about $1,300, she decided to think big.