Origami. In all shapes and sizes. On the piano. On the tables. On the shelves. The Adams family home in Dallas has been taken over by the ancient art, but no one seems to mind. Those paper creations are funding clean water projects around the world and saving lives. A cluttered home is a small price to pay in exchange.
Frightening statistic inspires little girls
In 2011, Isabelle Adams, then 8, and her younger sister Katherine, then 5, learned that every five seconds, a child died around the world from a lack of clean water and that girls their age couldn’t go to school because they were hauling water all day for their families.
“We thought that was really unfair and we really wanted to do something about it. So, we took something that we loved doing which was folding origami and we started to take proceeds for it,” explains Katherine.
The original goal was to raise money to help fund a well in Ethiopia.
“The first night we actually ended up selling out and raising over almost $800,” says Isabelle, now 16. “So, we came back and regrouped and decided maybe we can do a lot more than we originally thought. And we raised our goal to $9,200 to fully fund the well. And we ended up raising over $10,000 by the end of the year.”
Katherine, now 13, adds, “It just kind of snowballed and its grown into this massive thing.”
That massive thing is called Paper for Water.
How Paper for Water works
The process starts with paper that is either donated or bought at a discount. Volunteers of all ages fold the paper into origami ornaments that are then exchanged for donations online or at gift fairs.