HELPING – with a birthday

Tomorrow, I’m turning 33.

No big deal. Just another birthday, right?

It may be just another day to me, but for some, a birthday is a huge deal. Millions of people don’t have access to clean, safe water. That means they don’t know if they will have a next birthday; they’re not even sure if they’ll have a next week. So while my birthday may not be a big deal to me – it could, through charity: water, be a big deal for others.

I first heard about charity: water almost a year ago and I immediately fell in love with their ‘Give Up Your Birthday’ campaign. I should have signed up right then and there. Instead, being the procrastinator that I am, I didn’t sign up until yesterday. Yes, better late than never and all that, but still…get it together woman. This could have been so much bigger and better if I’d started it – oh, say 3 months ago.

More people die from lack of clean water and sanitation each year than are killed by all forms of violence, including war.

The idea behind the ‘Give Up Your Birthday’ Campaign is exactly that – to give up your birthday. To ask your friends, family, and colleagues who might normally buy you a present or take you out to dinner, to instead donate that money to charity: water. It’s pretty simple, but pretty genius too.

It is a wonderful way to bring attention to this amazing charity. To remind people that it’s okay to celebrate, but it is within our capacity to help others celebrate as well.

I’m not a big birthday person. I can’t think of the last ‘party’ I had. Most of my birthdays are spent having a dinner with friends or family or both. It’s good. It’s simple. It’s low-key, like me. And, now that I’ve started this minimalist lifestyle (i.e. selling everything I own and living out of a bag) I neither want, nor need any gifts – physical gifts that is. I would however, love a gift for charity: water.

I’m asking for $33 from everyone I know — and every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund clean water projects in developing nations.

Even better, charity: water will show exactly which projects you helped fund once they’ve been fully completed (which takes about 18 months). That means we’ll be able to see the communities we’ve helped! Yes, I will surely do a post about this as well.

90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are children under five years old.

Did you know that it only takes $20 to provide someone with clean water? That’s not just clean water for a day or a week or even a month, it is clean water throughout this year and next year, and the year after that, and the one after that… Twenty dollars may not be that much to you, but it could actually save the life of one of the 800 million people who suffer daily without clean water.

We in the western world take our water for granted. We have a seemingly endless supply. We are so fortunate to be able to turn on the tap and have a glass of clean clear water anytime we want. But, what if we couldn’t? What if we also had to walk miles searching for water, then ration the small amount of dirty water that we were finally able to get? Can you even imagine it?

Water is precious. The only thing in this world more vital to human life is air. A person can survive only 3-5 days without water and that estimate goes down when heat and exertion are factored in.

We have the power to help. We have the responsibility to help.

My goal is to raise $3,300 for my birthday! That’s a mere one hundred dollars for every year I’ve been alive.

I have decided to claim this last year as my own. I’ve donated $100 to start this campaign off right. It is a birthday present to myself and a wonderful way to celebrate an extraordinary year full of new adventures, rewarding experiences, and amazing people.

Please join me to make this birthday count. Donate now. Instead of giving me presents, or writing on my Facebook wall, please donate $33 for my 33rd birthday, and help me bring clean water to people in need.


Thanks for reading!



Note: All photographs, images, videos and quotes courtesy of

5 responses to “HELPING – with a birthday

  1. First, Happy Birthday.. I too am a Charity Water supporter and love everything they stand for and accomplish.

    • Thanks Lynne! I actually heard about charity: water through another blog and I’m so happy I did. They make helping easy and I love how they send you all the info and pictures about where and how your money was spent. Fantastic. – Rene

  2. Happy birthday and good luck with the campaign. For years we have stopped giving gifts to each other and we give money to charities for Christmas and bdays.

    • Thanks. The idea of giving donations instead of gifts seems to be increasingly popular. Not only does it help some wonderful charities, but it also cuts down on our consumerist culture. I guess you were ahead of the curve on that one. -Rene

  3. Pingback: HELPING – with water | Repurposed Redhead·

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