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Inspired by a recent trip to India, designer Rachel Roy recently celebrated her 39th birthday with a mission of giving, instead of receiving gifts. Roy has partnered with the charity: water campaign to raise $20,000 to give 1,000 people clean water in India. “Water changes everything. Diseases from unsafe water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war,” explains Roy.

On What She Observed During Her Trip To India

This is my fourth year working with charity:water actually! I heard about them around the time of my 35th birthday and what I love most about charity:water is how simple they make the act of charitable giving. There are no rules or expectations, and you can donate as much as you feel comfortable giving.

During this time however, and through seeing how the dollars have been spent, I’m reminded just how essential clean water is in setting up a foundation for everything else in life. In a developing community, clean water is the most important commodity, and it’s such an easy gift for us to give.

On What We All Can Do To Give Back

I think it’s always best to start on a local level. You’ll know what needs attention and how to make the biggest change in your own community. A fantastic resource and a great place to start is Volunteers of America. It’s a nationwide database of all sorts of organizations that could use an extra pair of hands. It’s as simple as putting in your zip code to see what non-profits are active in your area.

Check out what else Rachel has to say on giving back as well as her goals for 2013 over on Essence.

Do you have time to volunteer?

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