When Rachel Beckwith was about to turn 9 years old in June 2011, she asked friends and family to make a donation to charity:water in lieu of birthday gifts. Her goal was to raise $300, enough for the organization to provide drinking water for 15 people. Beckwith fell shy of her goal by $80.
She pledged to make it up the next year. But she never got the chance.
Beckwith was tragically killed in a 14-car pile up a month later.
Yet, through the grief and sadness that followed in her wake, word of Beckwith’s selfless effort spread worldwide and people began to donate to her page. The $300 goal was quickly surpassed, and when the campaign finally came to a close, 31,997 people donated over $1.25 million. The money was enough to provide potable water for over 63,000 people.
Now, a year after Beckwith’s death, her mom is visiting the very people she helped. Earlier this week, charity:water posted a video that chronicled mother Samantha Paul’s visit to an Ethiopian village that benefited from Beckwith’s campaign.
A warning for those easily moved by heartwarming moments, this video will most definitely make you cry.
Speaking to the Seattle Times, Paul expressed how the experience made her feel blessed.
“I feel inadequate. What did I do? They were so grateful and humble--just amazing people,” Paul said of the villagers who welcomed her.
Beckwith’s legacy of humanitarianism doesn’t end with this story, however. Paul has set up another charity: water campaign for her youngest daughter Sienna, who’s turning three. She’s also creating her own nonprofit called Rachel’s Wishing Well, which currently only has a Facebook page.
Photo via Vimeo