Qatar student wants birthday gift money to be donated to water charity

September 13, 2010
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A human rights activist studying at a university in Qatar has decided to use his birthday to raise donations for a charity providing water to needy people in Africa.

Mohammad Farid, an Egyptian student at the Northwestern University-Qatar about to celebrate his 20th birthday, requested  his family and friends to make a donation of $20 or more to the charity, ‘mycharity: water’ instead of giving him gifts on the occasion.

The charity describes itself as a “non-profit organisation bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations,” and raises money to build freshwater wells, rainwater catchments and sand filters to provide drinking water solutions to people who have no regular access to clean water.

Mohammad, the founder and president of the human rights student organisation, said that he made the decision after realising the suffering many people face on a daily basis while attempting to ensure supplies of clean drinking water reach their homes and families.

“All of my birthdays have always been about stuff. Stuff I don’t want, stuff I definitely don’t need. And to be honest, I hardly even remember what I got last year. Well not really, but you know what I mean… I believe that I do not need gifts, but what is needed is water in Africa – millions of people do not have easy access to water,” he said. “I urge my friends around the world to donate $20 which will go to a good cause. I want to remember my birthday by making a small difference, however small it is,” he said, quoted by Qatari daily Gulf Times.

Mohammad said he expected people from more than 17 countries to join him in his efforts and donate a gift to those in need.

“A billion people in the world are living without clean water – but how much are they really living? Millions contract deadly diseases from contaminated water – 45,000 people will die this week alone,” he wrote on his webpage. “The lucky ones won’t, but still walk hours each day to get dirty water to give to their families. My birthday wish this year is not for more gifts I don’t need; it’s to give clean and safe drinking water to some of the billion living without it. I want to make my birthday matter this year.”

People interested in contributing to his fundraising efforts can visit the website: http://mycharitywater.org/moefarid

Another human rights activist in Qatar said that Mohammad’s generous gesture should serve as encouragement for others to help those in need rather than live selfishly.

“I think it is a really good idea, and one that in which many people around the world are participating,” he said, quoted by the newspaper. “I hope this encourages others to get involved with similar initiatives and help people suffering around the world.”

 

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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