The Paper Beads That Rolled Their Way Into My Heart

Raina Kadavil's picture
Posted by Raina Kadavil on
Tue, 09/16/2014

Student Rebuilders:  This week we’re excited to bring you a blog post from Raina Kadavil, a high-school senior and President of Global Ambassadors Interact.  Raina has led the Global Ambassadors in participating in all five Students Rebuild Challenges, including making 60,000 beads for the Water Challenge – more than any other participating team! You’ll be able to catch the Global Ambassadors as they participate live in our third and final Water Challenge webcast this September 18th, and be sure to visit them online to learn more about their great community projects.  A leader in her school and community, Raina gives us some insight into how Students Rebuild has impacted her worldview, her actions, and the lives of those around her.

All throughout history, we’ve seen that the things that spur change are movements – the union of people for a common goal. Yet, even today, in the age of information, bringing people together and inspiring them to actively make a difference is no easy task. It’s easy to ignore problems like genocide and poverty when they don’t affect you, and it’s easy to ignore problems like climate change when you can’t see their effects. In such a time, anything that reaches out and manages to encompass all ages, genders, and races, that has the ability to teach and to inspire, and gives everyone a way to pitch in and visibly make a difference is a godsend; that is exactly what Students Rebuild’s Water Challenge has been. 

I brought the Challenge to White Plains this past December, and the reception it received was amazing: everyone wanted to get involved. I’ve explained the challenges to confused people so many times that I could do it in my sleep – and there is nothing more inspiring than seeing the way a person’s eyes light up when understanding of what the project is – and that they, themselves, can make a difference, just by making some paper beads – dawns on them. No, scratch that; there is something more inspiring: seeing how empowered everyone around me became, and watching my room fill up with piles and piles of beads. For once, my mother didn’t complain about the mess. I brought the project not only to my family and friends, but to Global Ambassadors, to all the White Plains schools – elementary, middle, and high – to my church, and to the White Plains Youth Bureau.

It was wonderful to hear of and see the success it was met with no matter where it went. The beads are easy to make and fun to look at and play with. Around midterm and AP time, many of my friends even began to make the beads as a strategy for stress relief! On May 2nd, I sent out a grand total of 60,000 paper beadsthe equivalent of water for 3,000 people – to Seattle: the combined effort of all of White Plains – and I can’t wait to see the beautiful things that come of them. Being contacted by Students Rebuild a couple of months ago and being told that we in White Plains made more beads than anyone else in the world, and that we’d have the chance to speak live to the students in Tanzania whom we’ve helped was…mind-blowing. I never thought we’d make it that far, but it’s amazing what a small group of people has the power to do. That’s something for all of us to be proud of – we really have made a difference, and I think these challenges and the way youth around the world have reacted to them is testament to the power and momentum we have, as future leaders, to change the world for good.

Global Ambassadors is inspired to be partnering with an organization like Students Rebuild, and in my fourth year of partnership, so am I. Each project has been more empowering than the last, and being a part of these initiative taught me that “one person can make a difference” really isn’t a cliché at all. The Water Challenge got me involved with fundraising for Capture the Rain, which became a Global Ambassadors initiative, through which we raised over a thousand dollars to build fresh water facilities for a school in Kenya. It motivated me to help, and I hope to be able to help in person, too, soon. Water is life: that is a fundamental truth. Without water, the world would lose its beauty, and we would lose our lives – and too many do, every day. We have to be the change for each of them – that’s what the Water Challenge taught, and it’s the message I want to keep passing along. And, at the end of the day, being this change can be as simple as making twenty paper beads. 

The Students Rebuild Water Challenge, in partnership with charity: water and Global Nomads Group, is helping bring clean, safe drinking water to those who need it most. Every 20 handmade beads provides access to clean water for one person in a village. This school year, your handmade beads will provide more than 16,000 people clean water in Tanzania because the Bezos Family Foundation through Students Rebuild has matched your beads with funding for 41 water projects that serve schools and communities.