17 March 2010

I'm Giving Away My Birthday

This year for my 33rd birthday I've decided that instead of asking for gifts, I'm asking for $33 or more from everyone to build freshwater wells for people in developing nations. I am doing this through the charity: water organization. You can find my project at http://mycharitywater.org/bbq.

I have been very impressed by the charity: water organization. Charity: water gives 100% of all its public donations directly to water project costs, and each donation is "proved" and tracked to the village it helped when projects are complete.

A billion people in the world are living without clean water. Millions contract deadly diseases from contaminated water. 45,000 people will die this week alone. The lucky ones won't, but still walk hours each day to get dirty water to give to their families.

My birthday wish this year is not for more gifts; it's to give clean and safe drinking water to some of the billion living without it.

I learned about this charity from the daughter of some very good friends of ours that is getting married soon. They put up a website detailing the wedding logistics. The site showed when, where, had engagement pictures and so forth. My wife and I looked at the section for the gift registry and found something I had never seen before. The couple elected to have everyone give to a charity instead of buy them presents. They are a good middle class american family. They are doing fine but, speaking from experience, when you are starting life out together it is nice to have wedding presents. This is the first thing that touched me: the selfless nature of this wonderful couple, especially during a time that should be focused on them.

Due to this feeling, I immediately followed the links to see how I could donate a little bit. The charity they chose to donate to was charity: water. After reading a little bit about this charity I was very impressed. I asked my wife how much we could donate. She said that she had $20 left over in the grocery checking account that she would donate. Our kids were in the room while we discussed it. Our 9 year old daughter spoke up and said, "I have $5 that I can give." (This is the point when a parents heart wells up.) All the kids then came over to see what we were doing. I showed them a short video clip from the website and they all started saying, "I will give my $20," "I will give my $12." This is the second thing that touch me. Our kids have been saving this money for a long time but were immediately willing to give it all to some children they don't know at all. They just knew the kids needed help. Everyone donated a little and it added up to more.

I then thought, what can I do? The charity: water website was very helpful in pointing out a few things I could do. One suggestion was to give away your birthday. Instead of receiving presents, have people donate to your own water project. So, I have asked everyone to donate here instead of give me birthday presents this year. I am asking everyone to take a moment and consider if they can donate a little to help bring fresh water to those without.

Thank you.

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