The World of Water Education: Project WET

Instead of focusing on a Water Charity this Tuesday, we chose nonprofit organization Project WET. This organization focuses on water education through reaching out to teachers, community members, children, and parents in the United States and around the world. Project WET achieves this goal through publishing informative water materials in different languages, creating school curriculum for different age groups, and sponsoring trainings around the world. Project WET also organizes community water events such as the Global Water Education Village. This event is held every three years at the World Water Forum, the last one was held in Istanbul, Turkey. The goal of the Global Water Education Village is to discuss local actions in water education that are successful at reaching children.

Project WET is committed to reaching out to audiences around the world and in ushering water education into the twenty-first century.  Most recently, Project WET has teamed up with the National Park Service.  In a press release issued on June 22, 2011, Project WET and the National Park Service announced that they would be collaborating on an educational series titled, “Discover the Waters of Our National Parks.”  This science based program will include hands-on activities, videos, special workshops, online courses, guides and an internet portal. Project WET President, Dennis Nelson stated, “Water connects our national parks to each other and to the people of the United States through the water cycle, making national parks a perfect springboard for educating people about water.” This project is going be launched at select national parks within the next year, so keep a look out at your local park!

Project WET’s website offers lots of links for parents, educators, corporations and museums.  If you want to get involved, there are plenty of avenues for that, too. Of course, you can donate on their secure website in any amount you choose, but you can also choose some more innovative ways as well. For example, you can sponsor a classroom and provide a Water and Sustainability Kit which includes copies of various activity and educational booklets for every child.  If you want to be more hands on, you can train to become a Project WET facilitator. After completing the course, you can deliver workshops to teachers and educators in your area. A great way to get involved in your community for a worthy cause!

So this week, Project WET is our pick for a great water focused organization. If you’re a teacher, parent or just someone interested in making a difference through water education, be sure to check out Project WET!

Charity Tuesday: Rachel’s Ninth Birthday Wish for Charity Water

Rachel Charity Water PageInstead of asking for gifts like most girls turning nine, Rachel Beckwith only asked that her friends and family donate to Charity: Water so that more children would live to see their fifth birthday. When her own birthday arrived on June 12, she had raised $220 — a very admirable amount, but $80 short of her goal.

Sadly, Rachel was involved in a serious car accident. She spent three days in the hospital before passing away on July 23, 2011,  just a little more than a month after her ninth birthday.

In the days following, thousands of people visited Rachel’s Charity Water Page to donate money to her campaign and leave messages for Rachel and her family. On the page, Rachel wrote about her reason for starting the fundraising campaign:

“On June 12th 2011, I’m turning 9. I found out that millions of people don’t live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn’t have access to clean, safe water so I’m celebrating my birthday like never before. I’m asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater projects in developing nations. Even better, every dollar is “proved” when the projects are complete, and photos and GPS coordinates are posted using Google Earth. My goal is to raise $300 by my birthday, June 12, 2011. Please consider helping me.”

Though it is sobering to read this message in light of Rachel’s passing, there is much inspiration to be taken from the comments beneath it. Thousands of people have donated, and beside their donations they have left their sympathies and well wishes.

UPDATE: Her initial campaign is now closed. The final donation total was 1,265,823.

Rachel’s mother Samantha posted a message thanking everyone for their donations and kind words:

“I am in awe of the overwhelming love to take my daughters dream and make it a reality. In the face of unexplainable pain you have provided undeniable hope. Thank you for your generosity! I know Rachel is smiling!”

More than $160,000 worth of the donations were raised by Rachel’s church. It was at this church that Charity: Water’s co-founder came to speak, thus inspiring Rachel to start her campaign. Visit Rachel’s Charity: Water for information on how you can help continue the legacy left by 9 year old girl.