Greetings from the team at the OM@home blog, a blog about children and young people, written for children and young people . . . . For young people just like you, about young people who inspire us all at OM HQ.
Young people like Rachel Beckwith . . . .
Rachel was just eight years old when she made her big decision . . .
'On June 12, I'm turning nine,' she wrote at the time. 'I [just] found out that millions of people don't live to see their fifth birthday. Why? Because they don't have access to clean, safe water. So I'm celebrating my birthday like never before. I'm asking everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of [giving] gifts for my birthday. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater projects in developing nations.'
Rachel set $300 as her fundraising target and, although she fell $80 short, she pledged to make up the difference - and then some - on her next birthday. She never got the chance.
You see, a little over a month after turning nine, Rachel was involved in a tragic car accident. Injured critically, she died soon after.
Rachel's tale doesn't end there, though, because upon hearing about this amazing little girl from Washington, people from all over the planet began to do the most remarkable thing . . .
Taking inspiration from her, following her example, more than 30,000 like-minded individuals took up Rachel's cause. In a little over a month, their collective efforts had raised $1.2-million for charity:water, a non-profit organization dedicated to delivering clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
Theirs is a cause that inspired Rachel, theirs one that speaks to us all here at OM HQ. There is nothing that connects us as human beings quite like our collective need for clean water. That 800 million people don't have it is something for us all to think about.
That Rachel thought about it means that 60,000 people in more than 100 villages in Ethiopia are now able to drink clean water, for that is the result of the big decision that the kind-hearted eight-year-old made one morning in 2011.
It just goes to underline that our actions can have far-reaching consequences for people the Earth over. Just a little kindness can often make the greatest difference.
This is a sad story, but for Rachel's family, who travelled to northern Ethiopia a little earlier this year, something quite astonishing has come from it. Here at OM HQ, we'd like you to take five minutes to watch this short film and think about what you can do to make a difference . . .
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/46300983 w=500&h=281]
Fundraising continues in Rachel's name. The latest project is aiming to raise $20,000 to fund projects in Rwanda. You can find out more about this here.