This year, 36 people in Rwanda will get clean water because a boy named Lory turned six in New York.

Lory learned about millions of people in developing countries who walk up to two hours a day to collect water for their families -- water that’s not even clean. When they bring it home, they have to make choices: should they use it for drinking? Bathing? Cooking or washing? There’s never enough of it to go around. Worse yet, the water is making them sick.

So Lory decided to help. He gave up presents for his 6th birthday and instead asked his family and friends to donate $6 to help build clean water projects.

With a little effort and two YouTube videos, he raised $2,386.

The projects that were funded by his birthday campaign are currently underway in Rwanda, and those 36 people will soon stop drinking from the river or the swamp, and have clean water near their homes for the first time.

Lory hasn’t been the only one to use his birthday for clean water. A 25-year-old named Joey raised $5,050 for people in Africa. A 30-year-old in Sydney raised $12,007. A 29-year-old girl in California just recently raised $32,398.

Actors. Musicians. Bloggers. Lawyers. Children. All kinds of people have used their birthdays to make a difference.

And this didn’t happen by accident -- in fact, the whole idea started with our founder a long time ago.

On September 9th, 2006, Scott Harrison threw a big party to celebrate his 31st birthday and the launch of charity: water. He invited all of his friends and charged $20 at the door. That night, he raised $15,000 for clean water projects. That’s where it all began.

charity: water sent the money to a refuge camp in Northern Uganda, and 100% of it was used to build three new wells and fix three broken wells in a place with 30,000 displaced families and almost no clean water around.

All of the sudden, the lives of people halfway around the world got a little bit better. They didn’t have to walk hours or dig holes in dry river beds to find water that was full of parasites. They just had to pump a well, and clean water came out.

Scott knew he was on to something: he believed birthdays could be used to solve the water crisis. Everyone has them, and people have them every year.

What if each person we knew gave at least one birthday to help end the water crisis? We could really make a dent.

And it’s worked. About 17,000 people have celebrated their birthdays with us now, and together we’ve raised nearly $9 million for clean water projects through birthdays alone.

Which is a lot-- but it’s not nearly enough.

Our goal is to give 100 million people access to safe drinking water in the next ten years. It's going to cost at least 3 billion dollars. But we've seen what birthdays can do. And we know that the average birthday campaign raises over $770. That means we're only 3.8 million birthdays away.

You can help by pledging yours at Even if it's not your birthday yet, we'll remind you when the time comes and help you start a campaign. Then all you have to do is set a goal, add a photo, and tell your family and friends.

100% of the money you raise will go directly to water projects around the world, and we'll show you exactly where it goes and who it helps.

Make our birthday story your story too. Just fill in the box below.

- The charity: water team
If you’d like to learn more about our work, visit our homepage at

Pledge your next birthday for clean water.


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