A well in Africa isn’t usually what comes to mind when thinking of what to get someone for a 30th birthday gift.
But math teacher Eric Bruns didn’t want to receive gifts or make his birthday to be about himself.
“I have so much junk around my house that anything I really want, I go out and buy,” Bruns said. “[Building a well seemed better] than actual birthday gifts.”
So instead of a big party or bigger present to mark the milestone, Bruns is asking friends, family, coworkers and students to donate $30 to a charity that provides clean drinking water to those in need.
Bruns said inspiration struck when he read an article about a group called Charity: Water.
Charity: Water was founded by a man named Scott Harrison, who had seen millions dying from lack of clean water in Africa, and wanted to do something to help. He learned that one in six people do not have access to clean drinking water.
Harrison then threw a birthday party in which 700 friends attended. He had each friend put $20 dollars into a bottle, all going towards creating a well with clean water in Africa. Through all the money donated at his party, Harrison was able to build three wells and fix three wells in southern Uganda.
Since then, Harrison has created many successful campaigns that have raised money for the building and repairing of clean water wells. Charity: Water is focused on putting 100 percent of their donations towards building the wells and not taking any money for themselves.
“Not to slight other charitable organizations, but this (building wells) has an immediate impact on lives, “ Bruns said.
Bruns asked anyone who was interested in getting involved to donate towards his well.
“He told my class he’d only ask us one time but to please donate $30 and that it wasn’t going towards him.” senior Molly Stacy said.
Bruns was impressed with the response from his students.
“I’ve gotten [donations] from students,” Bruns explained. “Some are from individuals, pairings of classes, I’ve got some from former students who are not currently in class and even from one student who graduated last year.”
Student participation has been especially helpful to Bruns because building a well can be expensive.
“Drilling a well can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000 dollars,” said Ashley Meritt, a Charity: Water representative.
Bruns hasn’t reached his goal yet but hopes to receive considerable donations from supporters.
“[I’m] about halfway there,” said Bruns. “But stilling crossing my fingers.”
After receiving donations Bruns only has one more step towards building his birthday present to the world.
“Once I get all the money in, send it all into charity water, and make a note of the contributors to my well to Pay Pal, they say that once they get all that in, within 12-14 months the well should be built,” Bruns said.
Once the well is built Bruns has the option of getting exact GPS coordinates of his well so he can see the village from Google Earth or possibly visit his contribution to the world someday.