A September Birthday Story

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Internet, Life | Posted on 13-09-2010


Below is the text of an email I sent to close friends and family regarding the charity: water september campaign and my own fundraising efforts.

Hi guys,

Sending this email to a bunch of people who I consider closest to me – so sorry for the group send, but you’re on a special shortlist. It’s one week to my birthday, and I wanted to share a story with you.

As you know, several months ago I started working for a pretty special non-profit called charity: water – joining their team after being a long time supporter. We provide clean and safe drinking water in the developing world, and have a model whereby 100% of public donations reach water projects (by funding our operations from a different budget – we even pay back credit card fees!).

Every September we do a huge campaign to solve a special issue. We ask people to ‘give up their birthdays’ and raise money instead. This was how I first met the charity two years ago, and this year I’ve been tasked with managing the whole campaign.

This year we’re trying to raise enough money to provide access to clean and safe drinking water to an entire native group in Central African Republic, the Bayaka people. These are people at the bottom of the barrel – they are the bottom of society in C.A.R., which is one of the very poorest places on the planet. I’ve made firm friends with our partner there Jim Hocking, an American who was born in CAR, lived there all his life and his non-profit ICDI is the only organization there digging wells.

Watch our trailer video to see Jim, the Bayaka, my boss Scott and what we are trying to do:

charity: water 2010 September Campaign: Clean Water for the Bayaka from charity: water on Vimeo.

So every year on our anniversary we ‘live drill’ from the field. This year, it was to be at a town called Moale in the jungle of C.A.R. that Jim has tried to build a well at twice in the past. 16 years ago a hand dug well failed at 100 feet when the villagers could dig no longer without oxygen. Then Jim tried to dig again with a drill rig, but that failed when they ran out of drill stem at 500 feet. This year we were going to try again… but we knew we ran the risk of failure.

It didn’t go as we expected. This is the video from our anniversary, that we had hoped was a celebration for the people of Moale:

Live Drill – No water for our birthday in Central African Republic from charity: water on Vimeo.

The good news: the very next day we were able to visit another nearby village and dig again.

A much happier video this time:

Live Drill Day 2 – We Hit Water! from charity: water on Vimeo.

And, today (just hours ago) my coworkers uploaded another really moving video from this village (I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it brought a tear):

Day 3 – Live Drill Finale – September Campaign 2010 from charity: water on Vimeo.

I shared this because it’s important to me, and as I care about you I wanted to share with you the story of the Bayaka. And, to ask for a birthday present :)

If you feel inspired by the story of the Bayaka (or, you just like me and/or are worried I’ll annoy you :)), you can donate to my very own birthday campaign here:


100% of donations will reach C.A.R. and help the Bayaka. We’re trying to raise $5,000 which would allow us to put a plaque with our names on a well. If so, I’ll be able to show you GPS coordinates and photos of our well.

If you can’t donate – just spread the word :), forward this email on to people who know me or people who you think might be interested if you pleased – every little bit helps!

I hope all of you are well! And please raise a beer for me on September 18 – ESPECIALLY if you’re in Australia and it’s a REAL beer.



Comments (3)

Paull, thanks so much for what you and the Charity team do both as an organization and personally for ICDI and the Bayaka people. Of course there are many others around the world and even in CAR that are worthy of this kind of help but you have chosen this time to help the Bayaka in the CAR and I am deeply greatful. I pray that God will bless you and yours one hundred fold for what you are doing. Jim

I’ll make sure that I have at least 1 new, 1 extra dry, 1 peroni, 1 corona and 1 stella on Saturday to cover all the bases.

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