I am always looking for creative ways to teach my kids about philanthropy. A really easy one is their birthdays.
To be completely honest, there are a couple of other motives at play here too: firstly they simply don’t need more stuff. Secondly, we don’t have room for any more stuff. And lastly, I think birthdays should be more about the give and less about the get. Just so you know, Harrison is about to turn six and Mia is about to turn four.
Last year we did a ‘Pay-it-Forward Birthday’, raising money for “a sick little boy in hospital” (this is what we called it – you can’t actually raise money for a specific child) via Make-a-Wish Foundation. You can see a clip they made for this here.
It was such a delightful process to go through with my kids and their friends, that both Harrison and Mia wanted to do the same one again this year. However, I really wanted them to think globally this time.
Together – and after watching a documentary called Ryan’s well – we decided on clean water.
Access to clean water in Australia is quite a difficult thing to think about when you are almost six and almost four years old. It simply isn’t something they have ever experienced. They turn on a tap to brush their teeth, and there it is. They play under the sprinkler in the backyard – fun! Let’s water the veggie garden – done! They want a drink of clean water – easy!
“800 million people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence including war.” Learn more about how lucky us First Worlders are here.
We have chosen charity: water as the recipient of Harrison and Mia’s clean-water birthday efforts. Charity: water is a non-profit organisation bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects in developing countries.
Here is Harrison and Mia’s fundraising page, and here is their clip asking you to help them help someone else.
Now here is a thought for you…if an almost six year old and an almost four year old can forgo some birthday presents and do a Pay-it-Forward Birthday; do you think you might be able to also?
Savour and enjoy that next glass of clean water…
Great post Tara and what a fantastic idea! I really think it’s important for our children to really understand and appreciate just how lucky they are … we are going to do the same for my little girl on her first birthday in November … we’d like to help http://www.foodwatershelter.org.au build their children’s playground at Kesho Leo in Arusha,Tanzania – which has been on their shopping list forever! Afterall, we’ve had the benefit of our friends’ generosity with lending us their toys (it’s a win/win situation – we don’t have to buy anything new and they don’t have to store them for a while) plus we’re fortunate enough to live in Brisbane where there are so many children’s playgrounds provided to us for free by the Brisbane City Council that we could try a new one out each week and still wouldn’t have seen half of them by the time Luella turns 1!