9-Year-Old Girl Raises $1.26 million for Charity Even after Her Death

September 16, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. compassionate (adj.) 
[kuhm-pash-uh-nit] – feeling sadness or concern for people who are in a bad situation
Example: Mother Teresa was a compassionate woman who dedicated her life to serving the poor.

2. fall short (phrasal v.) [fawl shawrt] – to fail to reach a goal or target
Example: The charity aimed to attract 50 new members, but it fell short of its goal as only 45 people joined their group.

3. campaign (n.) [kam-peyn] – a series of activities done in order to reach a certain goal
Example: The school started a campaign for better library funds.

4. touch (v.) [tuhch] – to influence or affect someone or something, usually in a positive way
Example: My favorite teacher touched my life that I decided to become a teacher myself. 

5. regret (v.) [ri-gret– to feel sad or sorry about what has happened
Example: He regrets missing his daughter’s birthday party.

Read the text below.

A young girl from Seattle, Washington was able to give fresh water to hundreds of Ethiopians by simply refusing to receive gifts for her ninth birthday.

Rachel Beckwith decided to raise $300 for her ninth birthday after hearing a story about children in Ethiopia who do not have access to clean drinking water. She planned to donate the money to charity: water, an organization that works to provide clean drinking water to people in Africa. Instead of spending money on a birthday party and gifts, the compassionate child requested people to donate it for a good cause.

On her birthday, Rachel fell short of her goal by $20, but she promised to do better next year. Sadly, just a few weeks after that birthday, Rachel died from a car accident.

Soon after, stories of Rachel and her campaign became known and touched many people. Thousands of dollars started coming in, until the fund reached $1.26 million, an amount far beyond the targeted $300.

With the money collected from Rachel’s campaign, charity:water was able to build 149 wells across Ethiopia. In July 2012, Samantha Paul, Rachel’s mother visited Tigray, Ethiopia. She saw the wells and met hundreds of people whose lives had been changed because of the money from Rachel’s campaign.

Samantha was amazed at the number of people in the villages who knew about her daughter’s story. She felt how grateful the people were for what Rachel had done for them. Samantha saw Rachel’s name and face everywhere she went: on shirts, on posters, on an altar, on a marble plaque. A park was even named after her daughter.

Samantha says she always knew Rachel was special, and so she was happy seeing that others felt the same about her daughter. But, she regrets the fact that Rachel wasn’t able to see her birthday wish come true.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What do you think of Rachel Beckwith’s charity campaign?
·         Do you think that donating money to charities is worthwhile? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Do you agree with the expression “charity begins at home”?
·         How can we teach children to be compassionate?

September 16, 2012