Sunday, July 12, 2009

charity:water in NY Times!

I am very happy to see international traveler and global health writer Nicholas Kristof has written an article about charity:water in the Sunday edition of the NY Times! I first heard about charity:water last year right before my birthday, when the Facebook Causes application asked me to fundraise by having family and friends donate $22 for my 22nd birthday, as charity:water's founder Scott Harrison had donors give $33 for his 33rd birthday. This organization is partnering with non-profits in developing countries to build wells with hand-pumps for thousands of communities in Haiti, Honduras, India, and many African countries. You can get involved with volunteering for charity:water by emailing

You can learn a lot more about Kristof's topics by reading the comments people post about his articles on his blog. In reading the comments on his charity:water article, I found articles and research on whether or not water projects in developing countries are sustainable, by the International Institute for Environment and Development and the World Bank (Comment 7) (lesson: don't abandon the wells after building them!). I also found people from other countries who would like to partner with charity:water (Comments 10, 15, 18) and information about a dangerous plan in place regarding the NYS Watershed and the Delaware River Basin Commission (Comment 13).

I really liked Comment 14, about how Mr. Kristof breezes right over the fact that it was the spiritual crisis Scott Harrison underwent and how he became a follower of Christ after his time volunteering with Mercy Ships. Also Comment 11, criticizing Nick Kristof for paying too much attention to the act of giving, and not highlighting the fact that self-sacrifice is what's important. Sacrificing one's time for others, and building community, so that the people you are helping are actually being empowered to make changes for themselves, not simply enabled by being given handouts.

Or put another way, having the moral courage to stand up for what's right, every day of your life. I've posted three comments on Irshad Manji's Moral Courage Project webpage so far, explaining how to stand up for our fellow global citizens and how to get others motivated, too. We can't expect to partake in activities once and that solve all the problems in the world. We need to keep at it, and dedicate our entire lives to the causes, making sure to follow up with those we help and not abandon them. There are plenty of people already taking up this cross, as Shane Claiborne shows with his movie "The Ordinary Radicals." We can do it too, and social media can help. Scott Harrison's successful marketing campaign demonstrates the power of social networking; I think this can be taken a step further if teachers would think outside the box, and incorporate blogs, twitter, and Facebook into everyday homework assignments. More and more non-profit organizations are creating these social networking accounts, and the sky's the limit with the charitable organizations one can find out about and get involved in, merely by spending some time on the Internet. Let's wake up and use the tools God has given us to use here in the 21st century.

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