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More on Hidajat’s charity: water campaign – interview with father

February 10, 2011 by

Screenshot from the video Nathan Hidajat’s charity: water announcement, from nathanzh.wordpress.com

Yesterday, we posted about Nathan Hidajat, a second grader in Ames, Iowa who gave up his 8th birthday in a fundraising effort to help charity: water, a charity that works to provide clean drinking water to people around the world who don’t have access to it. Nathan decided to give up his birthday after seeing a video of Scott Harrison, charity: water’s founder, presenting at last May’s Big Omaha.

Nathan’s father, Robert, answered a few questions for us by email yesterday about how Nathan’s campaign developed:

Silicon Prairie News: Why did you first decide to show Nathan the charity: water video?

Robert Hidajat (left, photo from twitter.com/rhidajat): I thought that it was just such a great video, such a great story and a massive issue that I didn’t realize is still such a major issue in the world. Growing up in Indonesia, getting drinking water from the tap is something that amazed me when I first came to the US back in 1993. We always had to boil our water. When I was little I had to get water by lowering buckets into a hand dug well then using hand pumps before we finally could get water from the tap.

Even today, in Indonesia, we have to boil that tap water before drinking. So when I saw the video it really hit me and I just had to share it with the kids. The kids are all born here, they grew up here without ever having to experience such hassles to get clean water. I thought that it’s a great video that will help them appreciate what they have.

What about the video prompted Nathan to make the decision to give up his birthday?

Hidajat: We first watch the video last September when it was posted. A few things stuck with him:

  • The stories at the end of kids his age giving up their birthday and one girl who ate rice and beans to raise money for charity: water.
  • Scott’s closing words – “If not now, when? If not us, who?”

We watched the video again earlier this year and that’s when he decided that he wanted to give up his birthday.

I asked him what he wanted to do to thank everybody who donated to help him reach his goal and he told me that he could make drawings and play the piano. He likes to draw and he has played piano at a retirement home in the past, organized by his piano teacher.

So the original idea came from him. We had a few discussions to develop the idea, I provided input on the breakpoints and Kickstarter-like model and he finally decided on what he wanted to do.

Charity: water campaigns typically last for 90 days but Nathan reached his in only seven days – where’s he going from here?

Hidajat: He mentioned that he wants to keep going until the end of the campaign. He will make as many drawings and do as many piano performances as needed to thank people for their donations. He talked about working toward $2,000 first. He’s watched a few more charity: water videos from the site and imagined how awesome it will be if he can raise enough to build a well – $5,000 – and to some day visit the well that he has helped to build.

I’ll have to chat with him some more this week and we’ll probably post another video update on the blog this week.

Author’s Note: If you’d like to participate in Nathan’s campaign, see nathanzh.com or mycharitywater.org/nathanzh8.

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