Rachel Beckwith was only eight years old when she heard about kids having to spend more time walking to collect dirty water than they could in school. Unlike most of us who would just forget about the situation on the other side of the planet, she made up her mind to do something about it. She decided to raise USD 300 before she turned nine so that people in poor countries can have access to clean water.
She was only USD 80 away from her goal when she celebrated her birthday in June 2011. Little did the sweet girl know that this was going to be her last birthday wish as only a month after she turned nine, she lost her life in a tragic accident when a tractor-trailer crashed into the car Rachel was riding in along with her younger sister and mother. Her death was mourned by the entire Seattle Community.
Soon the news of her sudden death started to spread. After a local news station mentioned the death of a little girl who had a wish of raising USD 300 for a noble cause, hundreds of strangers started donating USD 9 in her memory. This further spread like a wildfire and the number soon turned from barely hundreds to thousands and then to tens of thousands. Within just weeks, the 9-year-old girl who had left this world so tragically had drawn contributions from almost 32000 people for her fundraising campaign.
When Rachel Beckwith’s mother, Samantha Paul learnt about the generosity that strangers were showing towards to turn her daughter’s dream into a reality, she called it ‘undeniable hope’ in the face of pain.
Rachel Beckwith’s charity of USD 220 before her birthday grew into USD 1.2 million, enough to bring safe and clean drinking water to more than 60000 people in about 200 communities in different parts of Africa that quite commonly suffer from famines.
A year later when the girl’s mother and grandparents visited the Tigray region in Ethiopia to meet families who then led better lives because of Rachel Beckwith's charity, they were swamped by thousands of people who came singing and dancing to greet the family.
Even six years after her death, Rachel Beckwith’s legacy lives on as her mother and little sister have continued to raise funds in her memory for people who still do not have access to clean drinking water. It doesn’t just end there. 408 people who also made contributions towards Rachel Beckwith’s charity also went out to raise funds on their own for providing clean water for families in Africa and have an inspiring story of their own. Combined, they have raised another USD 1.7 million towards this cause.
Rachel Beckwith small dream of raising USD 300 has transformed into a behemoth and has changed lives of over 100000 people all over the world. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of kids can now use their time to study which was earlier spend walking miles to collect dirty water.
Rachel Beckwith’s inspiring story tells us that humanity isn’t dead in this world. Generosity, love, care and kindness rests in people hearts, all it needs is a little motivation and opportunity to come out. She also taught us that every single person on this planet has the ability to bring about a global change and help improve the lives of hundreds and thousands of people, no matter what your age or gender is. If a little girl who is barely nine years old can change the lives of more than one hundred thousand people, who is to say that we can’t?
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