When you think about RAW, you probably think about their insane variety of products that cater to every individual smoker. You should also think of the commitment RAW has made to improving life in whatever capacity they can. The RAW Foundation is the philanthropic and entirely self-funded arm of RAW Rolling Papers and is overseen personally by RAW’s founder, Joshua Kesselman. Recently, they helped finish the construction of 10 clean water wells in Ethiopia, providing 3,350 people with safe, clean water.
The RAW Foundation rolls up its sleeves
According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, 43 percent of the population does not have access to safe water, and 17 percent of childhood deaths are associated with a waterborne illness. Unprotected wells and polluted rivers or springs are breeding grounds for bacteria from overcrowding and droughts.
With a population just under 100 million, access to fresh water is a common problem in Ethiopia. Residents from the district of Wondo Genet Woreda (located about four hours south of the capital, Addis Ababa) have to walk upwards of two hours to collect water from unpolluted sources.
Many students, most at a young age, have to miss class or drop out of school entirely to help their families with water collection, which takes a huge toll on the community. 80 new wells for clean water had been planned throughout the district, however, the district water office’s budget shortfall has prevented construction.
To help the villagers, the RAW Foundation provided the essential funding for the construction of 10 new wells ($70,000). And that’s not all: To help cut down on common waterborne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea, over 550 male and female household heads will receive training in sanitation and hygiene.
You’re gonna hear me RAW
This is not the RAW Foundation’s first project. They have saved or greatly improved over 10,000 lives so far in Ethiopia, Peru/Amazon, Kenya, Uganda, Balikids, the Philippines and the Sumatra. Some of their greatest accomplishments include:
- Created and funded several CONNECT AFRICA permaculture design courses that taught over 50 community leaders how to capture water from the rainy season and harvest crops all year long (this is already working to eliminate starvation in their communities)
- Sponsored and established Sustainable Living Groups (SLGs, formerly known as Self Help Groups or SHGs) which directly build successful communities in the poorest of areas in Africa and eradicate usury
- Repaired and refurbished 20 defunct water wells in the Shashemane region of Ethiopia, which is considered Rastafarian Zion
- Developed, created and installed a large-scale water well and distribution system to service Mother Teresa’s main hospital in Addis Ababa
- Supplied 200,000 meals to malnourished children
The RAW Foundation is a self-funded foundation, meaning they take no donations to fund their humanitarian projects, and use their own funds from the money they make from you buying their products!
However, if you want to make a donation, please visit RAW’s ground partners, Wine To Water or Water Is Life International.