Can Push Ups Change the World?

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It all began with our global ambassador, Tyson Mayr. While traveling through Uganda with RainCatcher in December 2013, Tyson began a personal fundraising campaign and set out to do 10,000 push ups in 10 days. The children in Uganda were happy to support his efforts by performing push ups alongside Tyson, and as an added challenge, by climbing onto his back. Tyson’s “show of strength” paid off! The campaign raised over $5,000 for clean water and planted seeds of inspiration.

While Tyson was in Uganda, Jamie Franzen followed his journey on Facebook during her holiday break from Gannett Peak Elementary School in Lander, Wyoming. As a 3rd grade teacher, she recognized that the children in Uganda were not all that different from her students, except they had a major obstacle to attending school – lack of clean water.

After returning to school in January, Jamie brought Push Ups for Uganda to her class. On a set day they would all join together to do as many push ups as they could in one minute. The class made a video to spread the word and started raising money. Their enthusiasm spread and soon the whole school decided to join the campaign! Gannett Peak Elementary raised over $1,000, and more importantly, showed the students that they can have an impact in the world.

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Connor Higginbotham is a 9 year old student from Gannett Peak Elementary and has become a passionate ambassador for RainCatcher. During a Skype call with school children in Uganda, he learned that before their school got a rainwater harvesting tank from RainCatcher they used to walk two hours each day to collect dirty water and miss class. Connor is supporting the Push Ups for Uganda campaign this year by selling his artwork, bracelets and raffle tickets. When asked about why this issue matters to him, Connor shared, “Every day someone takes water for granted and I think everybody should have access to clean safe water.”

Connor’s mother, Danielle Higginbotham, is grateful for the experiences her son is having by helping others. After Connor received a thank you call and $150 donation from the RainCatcher staff and board, he was overwhelmed by the support. “Connor came home that night and shared about the call and donation he received. He told us his heart was so full he did not know if he could eat dinner,” says Danielle.

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Danielle and her husband also expressed their gratitude to RainCatcher, “Sometimes living in a small town makes you think the things you do are small in size, too. So for Connor to see and hear from people so far away, and to know that the things that he does are bigger and can reach across the world is incredible. So my undying gratitude for the impact you have made on my son.”

Yes, push ups can indeed change the world!

About:  Push Ups for Uganda is a nationwide campaign that helps provide clean water to schools in Uganda. All schools, after school programs and clubs are welcome to join the campaign! Push Ups for Uganda runs from March 1 to April 22, 2015. For more information, or to make a donation, please visit www.raincatcher.org

Donor Spotlight: Lisa Donner

LisaHave you ever wondered how doing something you love can benefit someone else? Well, it can, and Lisa Donner is the perfect example. Lisa has been a runner since high school, where she joined the cross-country team. Since joining the team, Lisa has always wanted to challenge herself by taking running to the limit and running a marathon. Last spring, she made the decision to achieve her goal. However, she wanted to use her race as a means of doing something more than just for herself. “I have had a really great year personally and professionally,” Lisa shared, “and I wanted to extend a hand back at life.”

Lisa was introduced to RainCatcher through Tyson Mayr, our global ambassador. During his last visit to Uganda, Lisa donated to Tyson’s fundraiser; he thanked her over the summer by taking her bungee jumping in LA! During the excursion, they talked more about RainCatcher and the impact we are having on people who do not have the gift of clean water.

Lisa did more research on her own and discovered the shocking number of people who go without clean drinking water every day. Lisa reflected on her own water usage and realized that clean drinking water is the very thing she looks forward to the most after a long run. “I would open a bottle of water and it was nothing to me. It’s simply something I never have to worry about because I am fortunate enough to live in a place with a consistent clean water supply,” she explained. It is for this reason that Lisa chose RainCatcher as the recipient for her marathon fundraiser. She gave herself the name “The Dehydrated Runner” and created her fundraising page.

Lisa is determined to continue her fight for clean water. “I don’t want my work with RainCatcher to stop here,” she shared, “I really want to continue on in the future to help this organization because it’s something that I am very passionate about. I don’t know what the future holds, but I have confidence that good things will come.”

Lisa’s goal for her campaign was $700. As of October 22, she has raised a grand total of $1,086. Well done, Lisa, and thank you for your contribution to RainCatcher!

If you are interested in starting your own campaign or supporting other Rally 4 RainCatcher fundraisers, please visit the link below.

CREATE A CAMPAIGN!

Rally 4 RainCatcher

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 12.39.36 PMOctober 25 is Make a Difference Day, when millions of volunteers throughout the nation will unite with a common mission—to improve the lives of others. Here at RainCatcher, our mission is to heal communities by providing clean water for children in the developing world using affordable and sustainable solutions. However, we need your support in achieving this goal.  You can do this by participating in Rally for RainCatcher!

On Make a Difference Day, launch your own personal fundraising  campaign that utilizes your strengths, passions, or hobbies to raise  money and awareness about our cause. Rally 4 RainCatcher will start  now and end on Thanksgiving Day (although we welcome new  fundraising campaigns at any point in the year).

Here are some guidelines for how  you can make a difference in the lives of children who struggle to  obtain clean water—a resource that we have access to simply by  turning the faucet.

CREATE A CAMPAIGN!

  1. Choose your campaign. Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling: Grow a beard, start a birthday campaign, set up a lemonade stand, carry a Jerry Can around for a day.
  2. Set your fundraising goal. How much money do you want to raise? Here is some information to help you estimate your goal: $10,000 provides a rainwater-harvesting system that includes 10 years of maintenance, $50 provides a filter to get 1 million gallons of clean water. For birthday campaigns, we encourage you to multiply your age times 100 and make that your goal! For instance, if you are turning 21, your fundraising goal would be $2,100.
  3. Become a RainCatcher Fundraiser by setting up a campaign page on our websitehttps://raincatcher.kindful.com/rain-makers-2014.
  4. Tell your friends! Post to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #rally4raincatcher to let your friends and family know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how they can help you reach your fundraising goal.
  5. Donate your total on Thanksgiving Day and see your hard work go to helping those who lack access to clean water.

CREATE A CAMPAIGN!

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Globals For Solidaritè ‘s journey to Haiti

We embarked on our journey to Haiti on March 22nd, 2014, with the goal to document the voices of unheard grass-root organizations there. Through our meetings with community leaders, we were able to better understand their work in context with the myriad challenges the people of Haiti face. On previous excursions to the country, we studied the history of foreign and internal political corruption, overwhelming poverty rates, and insufficient educational opportunities in Haiti. Our recent trip in March helped us connect the dots, to understand the relationship between these issues.

Each group with whom we met expressed concern over the prevalent resistance to change from their government and the overbearing grasp politics held over the people working to achieve self-sufficiency for Haiti’s poor. The perpetual corruption has been deeply ingrained in Haiti, dating back to the days it became the first independent black state in 1804. For this reason, the cycle of exploitation, social injustice, and political farce in Haiti continues and is perhaps best highlighted by the foreign-backed coups against Aristide, the first democratically elected president with an overwhelming 67% majority in 1991 and later 92%, in 2004. Another example of the corruption that plagues the country is the recent exclusion of the Famni Lavalas Party in the latest elections, composed of over 90% of the Haitian population, particularly those who are living in poverty.

For these political reasons, coupled with the immense issues the people of Haiti face as a result of oppressive poverty, Globals For Solidaritè ‘s charter is to stand in solidarity with grass-root organizations that strive to build Haiti from the ground up. The voices of Haiti reveal the strength and infinite hope that embodies the spirit of this impoverished nation.

A fundamental issue in Haiti is the lack of access to sanitary water. Through the generous donations supplied by RainCatcher, we were able to distribute five water filters to areas. By providing a source of clean water to 2 different communities, we were able to make a dramatic impact to people’s livelihood there.

The inhumane conditions we witnessed at the tent city, Camp Acra, in Petionville, perhaps most graphically, highlighted the need for clean water — a basic human necessity. 6,000 Haitians have been forced to live in this tent city since the earthquake in 2010 and despite years of imploring those in power to improve the conditions in the area, nothing has been done to alievate the suffering there. Acra decided to take matters into their own hands and created a board within their community to address the issues they encounter on a daily basis.

We had the opportunity to meet with the board, led by activist Elie – and it was clear the health and wellbeing of thousands were dependent on clean water. Although there is a water pump that provides water to the camp, the sanitation is questionable and the cost is unreasonable for people in this area. For this reason, we decided to give Elie three RainCatcher water filters to disperse amongst members of the community.

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This is an image that depicts the housing within Acra’s tent city, just outside the room we met the board in.

One of the three filters was directly given to a woman, Butau Marie Math to aid her six children under the age of ten. Supporting a family in the constraints of a tent city is unbearably difficult and by providing Butau Marie with a source of clean water, we have given her the ability to worry about one less obstacle facing her children. When we placed the filter in her possession, she expressed a sense of overwhelming gratitude and relief for the support that has been denied so persistently. These filters not only provided clean water for her family, but were deemed a gift representing solidarity and hope. There was no greater sense of the donations impact then being greeted by the smiling faces of Batau Marie Math’s children.

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Above is an image of Butau Marie Math after receiving her water filter and her children, who’s smiles reassured the value of our distributions.

The remaining two filters were placed in the hands of Sakala, an oasis amongst Cite Soleil ruins. This organization works to encourage the youth in the slum to follow a positive path despite the circumstances into which they were born. This safe haven is complete with a soccer team, community garden, library and computer lab. The beautiful garden built on what once was a junkyard, is a symbol of Sakala’s mission: to promote a positive outlet for the youth to make life out of destruction. This oasis gives children the ability to escape the horrors hovering their community by providing a support system and place of hope for them to grow.

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Above is a photograph taken on the outskirts of Sakala. The image reveals the conditions that the community surrounding the organization lives in.

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Sakala’s soccer field, library, and auditorium provided for the community.

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This is a section of the community garden built upon a junk yard that supplies food for the youth and families associated with the organization.

When discussing the water situation with the leaders of Sakala, we were told about the lack of focus on clean water, and therefore the lack of availability for it. Since this organization has been working so diligently on providing sources of nutrition for the youth through the garden, a subsequent neglect toward the need for water has been apparent. For this reason, the two water filters provided by RainCatcher.Org were given to Sakala to supply the children with a source of clean water. They will be keeping the filters in the common room to share with those who enter the oasis.

Through the distribution of these filters, and the questions we addressed when meeting with the organizations, the immanent need for clean water in many communities was revealed. Our main focus in assisting these grass root organizations doesn’t directly address these issues, but through the distribution of these filters, our eyes were opened to the dire need for access to clean water.

Thanks to RainCatcher, we were able to directly aid women and children in neglected communities. Globals for Solidaritè takes pride in standing in solidarity with Haitian grass root organizations through the support of education, empowering women and youth, and increasing the standard of living. Through the assistance of RainCatcher’s, we were able to expand our reach with direct, tangible impact. The ability to provide these hard working individuals with access to clean water, has hydrated the Haitian spirit, revitalizing hope in the hearts of the suffering, and most important of all, has helped the people of Haiti build their country from the ground up.

-Audrey Cashen and Emily Laurance

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