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Warm showers, dripping faucets and a single flush of a toilet have become so common that most people don't think about the millions of people in Southeast Asia and Africa who have never took a sip of clean water.

UCF's Muslim Student Association is changing that.

On Wednesday, MSA held its annual Fast-A-Thon in the Student Union Pegasus Ballroom and raised $4,000 for Muslim Aid USA's Dig-a-Well program, exceeding its $3,000 goal from last year.

"Every year, we chose a charity and we try to raise funds for that charity. We wanted to help the unfortunate that doesn't have water," MSA President Mohamed Mohamed said.

Mohamed, a senior biomedical sciences major, said the Fast-A-Thon started on campus in 2001 shortly after 9/11 and the event helps raise funds for a charity, when local organizations sponsor each pledge signed by students committing to sacrifice or fasting food and drinks throughout the day.

"Last year we partnered with a project for the homeless center downtown," Mohamed said. "With the Dig-a-Well program we want to help the unfortunate who doesn't have water."

This year, 1,400 students signed pledges, which was four times more than the 350 pledges signed last year.

Khadija Tufail, the vice president of MSA, said the money raised for Dig-a-Well will help the student organization sponsor the construction of four wells in underdeveloped countries in Southeast Asia and Africa.

During the event, several keynote speakers such as Yemen Monessar, a representative of Emerge USA, an American Muslim organization, encouraged students to implement change throughout the world by following altruistic structures set by Islam, such as the concept of fasting.

"Faith is governed by character," she said to attendees.

After melodic recitals from the Quran and the Maghrib sunset prayer, the fast was broken and a free dinner was served.

Tufail, a senior health sciences major, said she was thankful that MSA and Dig-a-Well will be able to build multiple wells, which cost around $1,500 each, so that more people can have access to water.

"I'm grateful for what we are blessed with," she said. "I can go anywhere and grab some water and grab some food. It reminds us and other people how privileged we are."

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Shanae Hardy is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at ShanaeH@CentralFloridaFuture.com

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