When her grandmother and other family members in the Philippines turn the TV, they just might see Margaret Rodgers. A 15-second clip about how Margaret raised money to help the pollution in an important waterway is now airing on the Filipino Channel to encourage others to do the same. To get the full story, we met up with Margaret and her mom, Hannah.

Can you tell us about how this project got started?

Margaret: For our last project for our enrichment class in fifth grade at Edgewood, we had to do something that helped the community. I knew I wanted to raise money for something, and my family lives in the Philippines. I wanted to help over there. I knew the river was pretty polluted, so I thought I should raise money for it. My family lives in Pasig and the river runs through it.

What did you learn in your research about the river?

Margaret: People would dump their old stuff in the river. You find companies and people’s houses along the river. In pictures it had a lot of cans and paper in it. The water was brown and kind of gross looking. I learned that they did fundraiser runs for the river. In its second year 86,547 people participated.

Hannah: The Pasig River runs through the capital, Manila, and serves as the main waterway through the city. People live by it and depend on it, but it’s also a waterway for transportation. Historically the Spanish were in the Philippines a long time, and they used it to move goods around. It’s a lifeline for many Filipinos.

How did the fundraiser play out?

Margaret: My original plan was to do it during Edgewood Night Out, but Spring Festival was coming up so we decided to do it then. We asked our principal Mr. Kiser and the PTO president for permission. For every donation you got a bottle of water, and it was a really hot day. We had a poster that said, “Clean Water for the Philippines,” and my friend was yelling, “Come donate to the Philippines for water!” We raised $137, and my friends Maren and Katie helped me.

How did you end up on TV?

Hannah: Margaret had sent a letter with her check to a river rehabilitation fund through the Filipino Channel ABS-CBN. The managing director was so gracious about what she has done and very inspired by how young she was and how she wanted to help the Philippines. And he wanted to do a TV plug on her. Months passed, and we thought it wouldn’t happen… until about two days before the plug aired (this spring). And there it was and it was so sweet. We have family who have seen it. According to my mother, it’s still airing. She saw her this morning.

The last time you went to the Philippines you were 6. What do you remember about it?

Margaret: It was really hot and rained a lot. Traffic is different. I remember going to the mall and swimming in the pool. This project made me want to go to the Philippines again to see the river. I might want to fundraise again because it was fun to raise money for them and it felt good that I was helping other people.