Let’s Make 28 Great Again

For the past five years, I’ve ‘donated’ my birthday to charity: waterWhy?

Because birthdays are about celebrating LIFE – and, for me, Sept. 27 is a day to reflect on what I’ve done so far and what I want to do going forward. What’s the meaning of life?!?!? and all that crap.

You know?

So, as I turn 28, I don’t need things. To be drowned in gifts is so 1999. To be drowned in drinks is so 2012. (jk that shit is forever) And SURE I wouldn’t turn down a pup. Or cake/cookies/anything that will send me to the dentist for yet another root canal.

But I digress.

When I first learned about charity: water, their concept was simple: What if every person ‘donated’ their birthday so – in our lifetime– we’d get to celebrate every person on the planet having access to clean water?

Liiiike, holy bananas. It really is that simple. I was hooked.

Below is an excerpt from the first story I’d read in relation to charity: water. I found it hard to believe that shit like this could be happening in a modern world like ours. But that’s the thing. The modern world like ours is not theirs. We live in a bubble. A bubble made with clean, soapy water that runs and runs and runs from our taps and our garden hoses and we think nothing of it. And then there are kids like Letikiros. Kids who have to give up school days to walk miles for water – dirty, unsanitary water – in the blazing heat.

Letikiros Hailu, just 13, walked four days a week for water and attended school part-time for the other three days. Since there was no school in Meda then, reaching the classroom in a neighboring village was another 6 hour round trip walk. In order for Letikiros to be able to attend school at all, her mother would pay to rent a donkey each week which could carry four pots of water on a single trip from the Bembya River. But there simply wasn’t enough money to relieve Letikiros of her water duty altogether, and she quickly fell behind. By the age of 13, she had only completed the third grade.

One day in 2000, no one will ever know exactly what went through Letikiros’ mind after she collected her daily water. What is known, is that she somehow slipped and fell, smashing her clay pot full of water into small pieces. She must have watched in horror as the water spilled out on the dusty ground. More than 10 hours of walking and waiting had been undone through a simple misstep. Those who knew her well believed she must have been overcome with shame. She knew her mother and sister were at home waiting for the water. She knew they needed her water to cook dinner. And now, even the clay pot was destroyed — a valuable asset for the family. So rather than continue home down the path empty-handed, the 13-year-old slipped the rope from the pot through the branches of a tree, then around her neck and hung herself.


Okay, so, like, you totally want to do something after reading that…right? I’ve been following charity: water for yearssss now. I’ve volunteered with them. Met tons of their employees. Heck, I even tried to get a job there. I attended their gala back in 2014 and I walked the length of Manhattan that same year ON my birthday (it was damn hot that year too, my GOD) to help raise awareness. Blah blah blah, Jackie, what’s so great about charity: water anyway?

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Over the years, YOU have helped me to raise over 8k for this incredible organization. And every single freakin’ dollar has gone to the field. SO. Here we are again. Another trip around the sun, another opportunity to do some good in this world.

Here’s a link to my current campaign:

https://my.charitywater.org/jackieraps/let-s-make-28-great-again

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Thank you thank you thank you!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Why I Donate My Birthday to charity: water Each Year

Because 1 in 10 people lack access to clean water. 

Because 13-year-old Letikiros Hailu hung herself after the clay pot in which she carried water home after a six-hour RT walk broke…and she couldn’t bear the thought of showing up to her family empty-handed. 

Because I’m inspired by 9-year-old Rachel Beckwith’s story:

Because I attended the annual charity: water gala in 2014 and was awed by the passion of their employees, volunteers, and supporters. 

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Because clean water is something so many of us take for granted. The water in our toilets is cleaner than the water that many folks TREK for daily…kids even miss school just to walk miles to retrieve dirty water for their families. 

Because I can afford to.

Because I have everything I need.

Because we should use celebrations to give back to those in need.

We should draw attention to things that really matter.

Material things DO NOT MATTER.

Skipping your $5 latte one day WILL NOT KILL YOU.

HELP ME HELP THE WORLD!

Click the link above to donate to my 27th birthday campaign for charity: water! I’ve raised over $7300 over the years and I’m looking to make it to $10,000 by the end of this year! Together, we can make sure everyone has easy access to safe, clean water.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Clean Water: A Review

Clean Water: A Review

As I write this post, I’m drinking clean, cold water which came from a filtered water machine in my office. I simply walked over, pushed a button and whooosh — clean water with basically zero effort on my part. As I write this post, 633 million people don’t have clean water. Think about how often you use water, besides to drink. We shower, clean and cook with it. We have sprinklers to literally run through it. We have water balloon fights! And we don’t think twice about how we’re going to access the water we need.

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And then there are girls like Letikiros. When I read her story, I couldn’t believe how out of touch I was. Why wasn’t her story on the news? Why is the water crisis seemingly less important than Justin Bieber’s latest mugshot? Out of sight, out of mind, right? This crisis isn’t happening in our backyard, so what does it matter?

BREAKING NEWS: It matters. A LOT. Any one of us could have just as easily been born into a situation where we needed to spend hours of the day trudging along in the heat, carrying clay pots, all to get to a water supply where the water was sketchy at best.

She walked four days a week for water, and attended school part-time the other three days. Since there was no school in Meda then, reaching the classroom in a neighboring village was another 6 hour round trip walk. In order for Letikiros to be able to attend school at all, her mother would pay to rent a donkey each week which could carry four pots of water on a single trip from the Bembya River. But there simply wasn’t enough money to relieve Letikiros of her water duty altogether, and she quickly fell behind. By the age of 13, she had only completed the third grade.

Can you imagine not being able to attend school full time because you needed to allocate days to retrieve water for your family? No child should have to do that.

Last year, I started a campaign for my 23rd birthday to raise $2300 for charity: water. I became familiar with the charity through online research and have been a champion of theirs since.

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Through this campaign, I ended up raising nearly $2500; Enough to provide clean water to 70 people. I was also invited to charity: water’s annual gala in NYC where I met so many inspiring folks and generous philanthropists who are just as passionate about the cause as I am.

It’s officially my birthday month again and I’m running another campaign (to which I’ve already donated because I don’t believe in asking others to donate to a cause that I wouldn’t donate to myself). I’m turning 24 on September 27 and my goal is to raise $2400. You can find my campaign page here.

I know it’s September and you’re itching for that pumpkin spice latte, but isn’t it worth the lives of others to give that up for a day and put the money towards something truly life-changing for someone else? You can learn more about the water crisis here.

Help me help the world and let’s spread some smiles!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie