campaign to watch: losing hair over the water crisis.

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Campaign: I Will Shave My Head for Water
Start date: Dec. 27, 2009
Campaign leader: Michelle Lesco
Amount raised to date: $190
Campaign mission statement:
“45,000 people die each day from waterborne illnesses. That’s not just a statistic. That’s people dying. That’s mothers crying over children. That’s entire communities living in sickness. That’s orphaned kids having to take on parenting roles for their siblings. That’s heartbreak. Worldwide access to safe water is a cause that I hold close to my heart. I’ve spent countless hours researching the effects of waterborne illness, and have cried at videos where people are literally dying before my eyes.
My goal is to raise $10,000 to build wells in developing nations. That means together, we can help 500 real people have a better life. I will literally shave my head if we reach this goal. I’ll do it, and I’ll post pictures on facebook to prove it. And I bet my head is lumpy and ridiculous looking. You have 3 months to put your money where my mouth is.”

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Michelle Lesco, 26, and her long dark hair currently live in Tuscan, Ariz., where she works for Americorps. In December, she started a mycharity: water campaign to raise money for clean water projects in developing nations. We got some more details on why she’s set on losing her long locks to raise money for clean water:

Our first thought — your hair is so long! Has it really come to this? Having to shave it all off to raise money for water?
“Haha! Well, I really needed a way to rejuvenate the topic. In December 2008, I first started talking the ears off my friends to donate for water. Then, I gave money to water for my birthday, and for Christmas, I did my first mycharity: water campaign. I didn’t raise much, though. I think I bombarded people with messages. So I needed a refresher. I didn’t want to get the same reactions — ‘oh, geeze, she’s talking about water again.’”

And has it worked? Have you gotten peoples’ attention again?
“It’s started a lot of good discussions. People ask why I’m doing this and I tell them it’s helping me prioritize my life. What do I want, my hair, or to help people not die?
As far as raising money, so far so good. I still have more than 40 days left and a lot of people have promised me a part of their next paycheck. My friend Andrew made me a Facebook fan page Monday and it already has 100 fans! It’s really taken off. Andrew also posts updates, including water crisis statistics and other facts.”

Where’d you even get the idea?
“It’s kind of in the back of your mind as one of those, ‘what would you do for…’ questions. And I thought, yeah. I like my hair. So I can shave my head.”

We’re impressed by your aspirations — $10,000 is a big goal for one head of hair…
“I had someone else jump on Jan. 7. Now there’s two heads instead of one — and his hair is longer than mine! One of my coworkers, Mike, said he’ll shave his eyebrows, too.
You know, I’m mostly using this as a stepping stone to start these conversations. It’s not important to me that everyone donates, even. They don’t have to donate to me. As long as they learn about the water crisis and donate later. “

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