Water Changes Everything

 

The mission of charity: water is to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person in the world, and they are making that happen. In 2006, Scott Harrison founded charity: water as one solution to the poverty and water crisis he witnessed first hand in Africa. Since then, millions of dollars have been raised to fund clean water projects around the world, and 100% of that money goes directly to funding those projects. Private donors, sponsors, and foundations help cover staff salaries, office supplies, and operating expenses like credit card fees for online donations so that every dollar given to charity: water is used to provide clean water.

As explained in the video above, clean water does more than quench thirst. Clean water prevents diseases that claim thousands of lives every day. Easy access to clean water allows women and children the opportunity to attend school, learn how to read and write, and provide for their families instead of taking on the difficult, time-consuming, and dangerous task of fetching water from hours away. Clean water has the ability to change everything.

While I will be celebrating my 26th birthday next month, there are millions of children around the world who never see their 5th birthday – simply because they don’t have access to clean water. So this year, skip the obligatory Facebook wall posts, gift certificates, and Hallmark cards. What I really want for my birthday is water – clean water to change lives around the world.

Here’s how you can help: visit my charity:water campaign and make a donation. It is my goal to raise $2,600, which provides clean water for 40 people. 100% of the money we raise will directly fund water projects around the world, and when those projects are complete, charity: water will send us photos and GPS coordinates so we can see the impact we made.

After that, spread the word! Blog about it, share the link to my campaign page on Facebook or Twitter, or tell a friend over coffee – or maybe a tall, cold glass of clean water! Help me reach my goal and make this a birthday to remember.

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Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda
Hotel Rwanda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve owned a DVD of Hotel Rwanda for several years now (my sister gave it to me as part of a birthday gift), but I’ve never felt “in the mood” to watch it. It has always seemed like the kind of movie you have to be ready to watch – not a movie you pop into the DVD player when you feel like relaxing on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. I left the DVD on the shelf, still wrapped in cellophane.

When the Kony 2012 movement started, I thought about Hotel Rwanda. Kony 2012, a 30-minute documentary, and Hotel Rwanda, a feature film, both address a humanitarian crisis that went widely ignored by the world beyond the African continent. Honestly, I was unaware of the Rwandan genocide until Hotel Rwanda was released in 2004, and much of America could probably say the same. While the genocide was taking place, America was rivoted by the O.J. Simpson trial. Likewise, Kony 2012 made millions of people aware of what Joseph Kony and the LRA are doing in Africa.

I decided to watch Hotel Rwanda (finally) one Saturday afternoon, and what I found was a profoundly moving film that told an unbelievable true story. After watching the movie, I read a book that had been sitting on my bookshelf: An Ordinary Man – an Autobiography by Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the film Hotel Rwanda. Both the film and the book provided some thought-provoking quotes that seem applicable to Kony 2012 and the need for the world to take notice and take action for the sake of humanity.

From the Film

Paul (Don Cheadle): How can people see this footage and not intervene?
Jack (Joaquin Phoenix): I think if people see this footage, they’ll say “Oh my God, that’s horrible” and go on eating their dinners.

It was interesting to hear this quote in light of Kony 2012. People have seen the footage, they have been made aware of the issue, but in the end many will go on eating their dinners. As we’ve seen in the media, many people have seen the footage of Kony 2012 and have turned against the work Invisible Children is trying to do for a number of reasons. Many say it’s not the responsibility of the West to do anything. Others say that the issue is non-existent, that the information is outdated and irrelevant. When you read the words of Paul Rusesabagina and his reflections on the Rwandan genocide, you wonder why people really want to remain uninvolved.

From the book

It was a failure of Western democracies to step in and avert the catastrophe when abundant evidence was available. It was a failure of the United States for not calling a genocide by its right name. It was a failure of the United Nations to live up to its commitments as a peacemaking body.

Words are the most effective weapons of death in man’s arsenal. But they can also be powerful tools of life. They may be the only ones.

[Inventor of the word “genocide,” Raphael] Lemkin’s idea was romantic and idealistic: That it is in the interests of the entire interconnected human family to see that no one part of it is wiped out. And yet ever since, the short-term interests of national sovereignty have always carried the day.

[A]nything that called for a commitment of American troops to Africa was anathema in the halls of the U.S. State Department.

[T]here was no natural resource in Rwanda that anybody cared about either – only human beings in danger.

Human beings were sacrificed for political convenience. This would be enough, I think, to turn any reasonable man into a prisoner of his own conscience for the rest of his life.

The church remained mostly silent when it should have been speaking out in a loud voice. Its failure to stand strong in this critical hour was equivalent to complicity. It still disturbs me that houses of prayer could have been transformed into killing zones.

“Happiness, too, is inevitable.” – Albert Camus

Words can be instruments of evil, but they can also be powerful tools of life. If you say the right ones they can save the whole world.

Standing out front is a sign draped with a purple cloth. It bears a pledge in four languages: “Never Again.” We all know these words. But we never seem to hear them.

A sad truth of human nature is that it is hard to care for people when they are abstractions, hard to care when it is not you or somebody close to you. Unless the world community can stop finding ways to dither in the face of this monstrous threat to humanity those words Never Again will persist in being one of the most abused phrases in the English language and one of the greatest lies of our time.

Evil can be frustrated by people you might think are weaklings. Quiet, ordinary people are often the only people with the real ability to defeat evil.

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This is Joseph Kony.

Joseph Kony leads the Lord’s Resistance Army, kidnapping children in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and South Sudan and turning them into soldiers and slaves. In 2005, after years of murdering and enslaving civilians and children, he was indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. For too long the world didn’t care – the world didn’t know – about Joseph Kony. That is about to change.

In 2012, we want to see Joseph Kony arrested and brought to justice – but no one knows where he is. He is still out there, changing his tactics to make him harder to capture. But if we make him famous and tell the world who Joseph Kony is, then we can demand change. The pursuit of Joseph Kony will continue until he is captured, and there will be peace.

Visit Kony2012.com to learn more.

Support Blood:Water Mission for Free!

blood:water mission volunteers
Image by breezy421 via Flickr

As a visitor to this site, SocialVibe gives you the opportunity to provide clean water in Africa through Blood:Water Mission. Founded by the members of Jars of Clay, “Blood:Water Mission is a grassroots organization that empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa.” It takes nothing more than a few clicks and a few minutes. Every time you visit the homepage of this website, you will be greeted by the SocialVibe widget on the left side of the screen. Click on the widget and follow the instructions on the pop-up screen. By completing a few activities, you can provide clean water for hundreds of days. You don’t need to “like” the suggested pages on Facebook or make purchases; simply click the link for the sponsor’s website and the activity is complete! Earn more points for the project by telling your friends. It’s an easy way to make a huge difference.