When Katherine and Isabelle Adams learned that a child dies from lack of clean water every 20 seconds, they wanted to help. At the time, they were just five and eight years old and decided to make origami ornaments in exchange for donations. They hoped to collect $500, but within just one month they had raised more than $10,000.

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The sisters also found out that some girls in developing countries aren’t able to attend school because they have to spend their days gathering water. So they decided to raise money to dig new wells. They brought their origami ornaments to the local Starbucks, where they gave one to anyone who donated. They hoped to raise enough for part of a well in Ethiopia.

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The sisters started their project on November 3, 2011, and by December 31 of that year they had more than enough money to fund an entire well. They decided to continue their project and started Paper For Water, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising more money and also educating children around the world about the global water crisis. Through their work, they also work to empower children in developed countries to help those who are less fortunate.

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Paper For Water partners with Living Water International to dig wells. Today, the Adams sisters are 10 and 12, and their non-profit has raised around $800,000. Their money has gone towards wells in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia, Nicaragua, Mexico, India, and a Navajo reservation in New Mexico. They’ve funded more than 100 wells. They’ve also arranged for numerous volunteers, age five to 85, to give their time to make a difference.

Their ultimate goal? Clean water for the 633 million people around the world who still don’t have access to clean water. You can help by donating here or even volunteering to create origami ornaments.

+ Paper For Water

Images via Paper For Water Facebook and screenshot