Young philanthropists raise thousands for clean water in Africa

MO Money raised for clean African water

Liberty, MO (KCTV) - There aren’t many children who will willingly give up their birthday gifts to make sure orphans in Africa have fresh water.

But that was just what one Liberty family did for almost five years.

The family bags are all packed – Tara Billharz, her younger brother and cousin have worked years for this day.

“Lots of odd jobs … lemonade stands and garage sales, and a lot of people have been very generous,” 13-year-old Tara Billharz said.

They raised $8,500, saving it in a shoe box to buy an irrigation system for an orphanage in Malawi, Africa.

“We would ask them, ‘what do you want for Christmas? What will you do with your birthday money?’ We just stopped asking them after a while, because they would always say, ‘well duh … it is going to the well in Malawi,’” Tara’s father, Tim Billharz, said.

Tara got the idea after her dad returned from a medical mission in the village.

“So this irrigation system that the kids raised money for is going to provide food for the entire orphanage of 100 kids,” Tim Billharz said.

“I think we’re so blessed to have clean water and all that we do here, so we should share it with others that don’t,” Tara said.

Family members say it is hard to believe what their children pulled off at such a young age.

“To think that they have that kind of compassion for other people and have a heart to do things for other people. I don’t know how you couldn’t be any more proud as a parent when your kids demonstrate that kind of character,” Tim Billharz said.

The Billharz family will be volunteering at the orphanage for two weeks.

“It is really exciting to be able to see who the well is going for,” Tara said.

The well and irrigation system was completed in March. It has already produced two good crops to keep the children full.

By Chris Oberholtz