Isabelle (age 15) and Katherine (age 13) learned over 7 years ago that girls in developing countries often did not get to go to school because they were hauling water all day. They also learned that a child died every 15 seconds from unclean water. So they started a project making origami Christmas ornaments and exchanging them for donations to raise money for water wells. In 7 years, these two girls have raised over $1,750,000 and have helped fund over 200 water projects in 20 countries: Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, Honduras, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Rwanda, Sierra Leon, Nepal, Uganda, Peru, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Zambia, India and a Navajo Indian Reservation in Smith Lake, New Mexico.
Isabelle and Katherine were inducted in the Caring Institute Hall of Fame in 2014 the same weekend as President Clinton, Former Representative Gabby Giffords, Jane Seymour, and Muhammad Ali. They were the kick off speakers for the UNWomen’s NYC Chapter 2012 Sustainability Conference and were the opening speakers for the Texas Lyceum two day conference on the State of Philanthropy 2013. They were winners in the 2013 AfterSchool Awards and Isabelle was selected as a 2013 Gloria Barron Award winner. They were named as “Women Who Bring Hope” by the Chiapas Foundation in 2013 and were recognized as the Association of Fundraising Professionals Youth in Philanthropy Winners for 2012. They were recipients of the Each Moment Matters Award by the Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation and have been on Good Morning America, Good Morning Texas and many other TV shows.
Isabelle and Katherine went to India during Christmas 2013 to see some of the wells that they have helped put into orphanages, schools, and villages. They went to the US Embassy in Delhi and met with Ambassador Nancy Powell and Deputy Director Kathryn Stevens. They also went to a Navajo Reservation twice in 2015, once in 2016, and again in 2018 where there are 250 homes without access to clean water. Paper For Water is trying to help with fundraising to put in ground containment units so each of these homes can have access to clean water. Nickelodeon HALO Effect has an episode dedicated to Paper For Water’s efforts out on the Reservation.
For 8 months between Dec 28th, 2016 and Aug 28th, 2017, the girls traveled all the way around the world visiting many of their well sites. They spent 3 months in South America, 2 weeks in Antarctica, 3 months in Africa, 3 weeks in Russia, and 6 weeks in Asia. They had the privilege of meeting with hundreds of people benefiting from the clean water that Paper For Water has provided.
In 2017, Paper For Water partnered with Neiman Marcus and the luxury retailer not only carried multiple ornaments in the catalog and online but one of the Fantasy Gifts was a $50,000 fully decorated Christmas Tree that sold! Isabelle and Katherine were nominated by the CEO of Neiman Marcus for the Dreamer’s category at the 2018 National Retail Federation’s Gala in New York City and they won. 2019 will mark the 3rd year that Paper For Water ornaments are again being carried by Neiman Marcus stores.
In March 2018, Isabelle and Katherine spoke before a packed stadium at WE Day Texas and were able to share their message on stage with Anne Coulter and many others motivating and encouraging over 4,000 young people to change the world around them. In April 2018, the International Association of Fund Raising Professionals in New Orleans recognized Paper For Water as the 2018 International Youth in Philanthropy Winners.
In May 2018, Paper For Water completed a massive installation of 4,000 large origami butterflies above the skating rink at the Galleria Mall in Dallas, TX. It took over 800 volunteer hours to install and was seen in person and online by millions of people.
In September 2018, Paper For Water finished an amazing installation across the ceiling of the gift shop at the Crow Museum of Asian Art. It is the most intricate and beautiful piece of art that Paper For Water has completed to date.
In December 2018, Paper For Water partnered with the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Las Colinas to decorate two huge trees in their lobby. Through this partnership with the Four Seasons, Paper For Water was featured on Good Morning America twice during the Christmas Holidays as well as on multiple local TV newscasts.
Isabelle and Katherine want nothing more than to educate the world to the clean water crisis and to make people realize that you don’t have to be a billionaire or a celebrity to make a permanent change in the life of someone who is thirsty.