Okuda & Rachel for Charity:Water
Ethiopia – Addis Ababa
Okuda x Teklu Desta
Extract from ‘Rachel’s Legacy’ by Tyler Riewer of charity: water
“In 2011, Rachel Beckwith had a wish. Shortly before her ninth birthday, Rachel learned that kids on the other side of the planet were spending more time walking to find and collect dirty water than they were in school, and she decided to help.
Instead of birthday gifts that year, she asked her family and friends to donate $9 to her fundraising campaign. She wanted to raise $300 — enough to bring clean water to 10 kids in need. But she fell short of her goal, raising $220. Rachel’s mom assured her it was good enough, and that she could try again for her next birthday. One month later, a tractor-trailer smashed into a car that she was riding in with her mother and younger sister. The accident took Rachel’s life.
News of her death shook the entire Seattle community. And then, Rachel’s story began to spread. A local news station mentioned Rachel’s wish to raise $300 and bring clean water to kids in need, and hundreds of strangers started to give $9 in her memory. Then it became thousands. Then tens of thousands. Within weeks, the heart of this 9-year-old girl had inspired 31,997 donations to her fundraising campaign. Rachel’s $220… grew into $1.2 million. Enough to bring clean and safe drinking water to 37,770 people in Ethiopia.
Rachel proved just how much impact one life can have. Not only did her wish help change the lives of over 100,000 people who got clean water; it also changed the lives of 44,018 people who gave clean water. She’s inspired generosity, kindness and love all over the world. Rachel reminded us that there’s good in all of us. That every single person on this planet has the opportunity to change lives. To build a legacy.
charity: water wouldn’t be the same today without Rachel Beckwith. And the world wouldn’t either.”
It might be enough to consider her legacy complete, but we felt Okuda could add a new chapter to her story considering countless Ethiopians are still suffering without clean water. Since the jerrycan is a symbol of this struggle, we traveled to Addis Ababa to ask an Ethiopian jewelry engraver to transfer his skills to a jerrycan by etching Rachel’s name before Okuda made his mark.
Artwork inspired by Rachel Beckwith, created by Okuda and Teklu Desta.