In a small village in Africa at this very moment, there are 10 people drinking clean water from a well that was donated to them by a group of six-year-old children. They raised enough money at my daughter Angela’s birthday party, in one single day, to provide life-saving water for those precious people for the next 20 years.
A few months before Angela was to turn six, I read a book that explained all of the challenges that could be prevented if clean water was readily available in small villages. I learned that sometimes the only source of water is miles away, and it’s shared with animals and filled with deadly bacteria. Children are often sent to make the hours-long trek each day to get jugs of this dirty water for the family. Sometimes it’s only a gallon or two, and it’s all they have for the entire day. I learned that if clean water was simply available, those kids would not become sick and die, they’d have time to go to school, and even their medicines would work better. It seemed like such an easy problem to fix, and I knew my daughter would agree.
I explained the situation to her and asked if she would like to use her birthday party as a tool to raise money to help those children on the other side of the world. She decided that instead of receiving presents that would break in a short time, she wanted to make her birthday last. We opted to host a water science party, and incorporated as many experiments involving water that we could think of.
Our games included a water-jug relay race (to give the kids an idea of how heavy water can be) and the prize (to the kids’ surprise) was a bottle of dirty water. We explained that the dirty water was all the families had to use to cook their food, to bathe, and to feed their animals. We also explained that just $150 could provide clean water for 10 people for 20 years. The 18 kids in attendance each donated between $5 and $10 and we met our goal. We were even able to replicate the party on a much larger scale for a special family missions emphasis night at our church.
It all began with one single act of self-sacrifice by a six-year-old. She’s eight now, and has a huge heart for those less fortunate than herself. I think it was one of the best life lessons she’s learned so far, and it started with just one purpose-filled party.
Would you like to host a water party of your own? Holly has provided a “Living Water Program Script” to get you started; it includes games, experiments, and more. You can adapt or supplement the water facts to reflect the water project you are supporting at your party. Find it here.