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clean water

Rachel Beckwith, one of the original Tiny Heroes.

Clean-water nonprofit celebrates young fundraisers

Awards given in memory of girl whose campaign helped raise over $1M.

In 2011, Rachel Beckwith was turning 9.

What did she want for her birthday? She asked for family and friends for $9 gifts to help her raise $300 for the nonprofit charity: water to help provide clean water for people living in developing countries. She raised $220.

But not long after her birthday, she died in a car crash on Interstate 90 near Seattle. 

This tragic loss of her life in July 2011 inspired others to get involved in the movement as her story went viral: In her memory, people from around the world donated to her clean-water fundraising page, which raised $1,265,823 and helped provide 37,770 people in Ethiopia with access to clean water. 

Ten years later, charity: water has created the Tiny Heroes award program in her honor — and to celebrate 29 other young people who have strived to help others around the world have access to clean water. 

Two of the award recipients are from Washington, and they have already made big contributions.

Washington resident Noah Musse Barclay has supported many campaigns through donations and campaigns through the years. “I became a charity: water supporter in 2009 and have campaigned 14 times to raise money for clean water,” he says in his online biography.

Supriya Nair is another Washingtonian who has strived to provide clean water. She has campaigned five times to raise money for the clean water cause, and even held a fundraising concert, performing Carnatic music, a classical Indian form, with her brother this year. So far, she had helped to raise more than $13,000 for water campaigns.

“Clean drinking water is not a privilege,” says Supriya. “It is a basic human right.”

Families interested in contributing can visit Noah Musse Barclay’s donation page and Supriya Nair’s donation page.

For more information on the Tiny Heroes program and charity: water’s other campaigns, go to www.charitywater.org. 

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About the Author

Jillian O'Connor

Jillian O’Connor is managing editor of the Seattle's Child print magazine. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two sons and a dog named after the Loch Ness Monster.