Loune Viaud: Health Care and Potable Water

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Loune Viaud

Loune Viaud, © Partners in Health


  • 6-12


  • Health Care and Potable Water

Additional Resources
Blog: Student leaders reach out to Haiti


  • Article 25: Right to Adequate Living Standard


  • 80 minutes


After this lesson, students will be able to

  • Connect the study of human rights in the past to the work of Loune Viaud.
  • Understand the widespread lack of clean drinking water and health care in the world today, especially in Haiti.
  • Be aware how ordinary citizens have made a difference fighting those abuses.
  • Encourage our students to also become human rights defenders.


  • Drawing inferences and making conclusions
  • Organizing and interpreting information
  • Participating in group planning and discussion; cooperating to accomplish goals
  • Map and globe skills


  • Social Studies Standard 1: History of the United States and New York
    • Intermediate KI 2 PI 4; KI 3 PI 1, 2; KI 4 PI 1, 2, 3
    • Commencement KI 2 PI 4, 5; KI 3 PI 4; KI 4 PI 3
  • Social Studies Standard 2: World History
    • Intermediate KI 1 PI 1, 3; KI 3 PI 1, 2, 3; KI 4 PI 1, 2, 3, 4
    • Commencement KI 1 PI 1, 2, 3, 4; KI 2 PI 3; KI 3 PI 1, 2, 3; KI 4 PI 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Social Studies Standard 3: Geography
    • Intermediate KI 1 PI 4; KI 2 PI 1, 2, 3, 4
    • Commencement KI PI 1, 4, 5; KI 2 PI 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Social Studies Standard 5: Civics, Citizenship, and Government
    • Intermediate KI 1 PI 1; KI 4 PI 1, 2, 3
    • Commencement KI 1 PI 1; KI 3 PI 2; KI 4 PI 4, 5, 6
  • English Language Arts Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding
    • Intermediate Reading PI 1, 2, 3, 4; Writing PI 1, 2, 3, 4
    • Commencement Reading PI 1, 2, 3, 4; Writing PI 1, 2, 3, 4
  • English Language Arts Standard 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation
    • Intermediate Reading PI 1, 3; Writing PI 1, 2
    • Commencement Reading PI 1, 2, 3, 4; Writing PI 1, 2
  • English Language Arts Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction
    • Intermediate Listening/Speaking PI 1,2; Reading/Writing PI 2
    • Commencement Listening/Speaking PI 1, 2, 3; Reading/Writing PI 2, 3
  • Mathematics, Science, and Technology Standard 4: Science
    • Intermediate Physical Setting KI 2 PI 1
    • Intermediate Living Environment KI 7 PI 1, 2
    • Commencement Physical Setting KI 2 PI 1, 2
    • Commencement Living Environment KI 1 PI 1; KI 6 PI 3; KI 7 PI 1, 2, 3

NYS P-12 COMMON CORE LEARNING STANDARDS for ELA/Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12

  • RH/SS.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • RH/SS.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • RH/SS.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  • WH/SS.6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • RH/SS.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • RH/SS.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • RH/SS.9-10.7 Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
  • WH/SS.9-10.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.
  • RH/SS.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • RH/SS.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  • RH/SS.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  • WH/SS.11-12.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.


  • Defender
  • Human rights
  • Water-borne diseases
  • Haiti
  • Health care worker


  • Human rights
  • Global citizenship
  • Justice
  • Government
  • Power
  • Individual responsibility


  • An LCD projector
  • Five or six laptops around the classroom, or a computer lab


Student Activities


  • Show to the class photos of Haitian children getting water. (Symbol for link)
  • After showing these pictures, the instructor should have a similar five gallon jug filled with water at the front of class.
  • Have each student stand up and pass the container to each other. It should be noted that doing so is difficult, and some of the students will find it challenging, which is exactly the point!
  • After completing this activity, ask the students the following questions:
    • Why would it be difficult to carry your own water like that?
    • How did it make you feel?
  • After asking these questions, ask one student to take a paper cup and walk to the nearest supply of clean drinking water. (Tell them they will be timed, but that they should walk at a regular pace, and not to run, as there is no rush.) It most situations, the student will return from a nearby drinking fountain within less than a minute. The instructor should ask the students the following:
    • Because you have such great access to clean water, what can you do that students in Haiti cannot? It is estimated that some children in the world carry water between 10-20 hours a week.
    • What else could or should they be doing with that time instead?
  • Point out to the students that in the country of Haiti there are thousands of people who get their water in plastic jugs. In addition to the physical hardship that goes with that, hundreds of Haitian children die each year from water-borne diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, and cholera.
    • With these facts mentioned, show the video of these hardships


  • Distribute to students the article entitled “Woman of the Year 2003”, by Jennifer Margulis.
  • Instruct students to read the article. The information will be used in the second activity.



  • Once those basics are established, the teacher should then have the students read an excerpt on Loune Viaud, as taken from her 2002 acceptance speech for the RFK Human Rights award in Washington (symbol for link)
  • Following the example of Martin Luther King Jr., the students should write a one-sided version of their own “I have a dream speech,” similar to the one of Loune that was just read in class.
  • The students could share some of their work the next day, or make a video in which their speech is supported by pictures and images.

Become a Defender

Loune Viaud chose to devote her life to helping the poor of Haiti. Perhaps students could become a defender by taking part in one of the following activities:

  • Use the examples that this lesson described to help you plan a fundraiser for Haiti.
  • Collect bandages and band aids and mail them to Loune’s group Partners for Health in Haiti, http://www.pih.org/pages/haiti/
  • Have a health care worker or even a school nurse come in to talk about the needs of your community. Ask them what help they would like to address those concerns, and how your school might be able to help.
  • Talk with people in your community about what their health care needs are, and what their health insurance covers. Create a short video documentary on what you find.


The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights is sponsoring an annual contest honoring a student who submits the best advocacy activity based upon the lesson studied. A goal of the lesson is to instill into each student that one voice, one person can make monumental changes in the lives of many. Tell us how you “Became a Defender”!


  • A one-page summary of the advocacy activity
  • Digitized copies of materials that can be sent electronically
  • Photos of the activity (please include parental consent form)
  • A one-page summary of how the activity made a change in the lives of one person or many


  • A week long “virtual” internship at RFK Center
  • An opportunity to meet the defender through a SKYPE visit,
  • A visit from Kerry Kennedy or a defender to your school
  • A poster of a Speak Truth to Power Human Rights Defender
  • A donation of a signed copy of Speak Truth to Power for the school library

The application and instructions for entry can be downloaded here.

The deadline for all applications is the third week in November.

The winning student and teacher will be notified by the last week of January.

Additional Resources

Water for All:
Water for All is a network of organizations that work at a local level to help increase access to safe potable drinking water.

Water.org is a non-profit organization that works in Africa, South Asia and Central America to provide people in those areas with access to safe water.


Partners in Health
An in-depth explanation of the various issues facing Haiti and how they all affect the health of the Haitian people.

Global Economic Symposium (GES)
Financing health care for the poor, the GES aims to provide a new collaborative setting to analyze the world’s most important economic problems, create shared visions of the future and formulate innovative strategies to achieve these visions.

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