Written by: Rachel Glickman & Jacob Lebowitz
We were married at a summer camp on the Chesapeake Bay. As well as doing the standard wedding activities like dancing and well-wishing, our guests spent the weekend zip-lining, canoeing, and navigating the ropes course.
Our venue wasn’t the only aspect of our wedding to veer from the norm – we also chose to “register” for a development project with Plan International instead of any of the tableware or kitchen goods that stock traditional registries. We couldn’t be happier with our decision to encourage charitable giving as a way to honor our marriage.
Witnessing Plan's Projects Firsthand
Our introduction to Plan International was through Jake’s family, which has worked with Plan for decades both by sponsoring children and by contributing to large-scale development projects. One of these projects was a clean water and sanitation project in Western Africa. Last year, when we planned a vacation in Ghana, we decided to take a few days to travel to Benin to see the project firsthand.
We were so impressed with Plan’s work and the stories we heard from villagers about the way the development projects changed their lives. Villagers told us about girls who can now go to school because they no longer have to walk over 3 miles every day to get clean water for their families. We also heard about how having year-round clean water allowed for far greater production of tomatoes, onions, and other crops, providing vital food security. It is impossible not to be moved by the profound impact of such basic investments in human health.
A Gift That Keeps Giving
As we began to plan our wedding, we quickly gravitated towards the idea of asking for donations to a charitable project instead of wedding gifts. As avid travelers, the needs of developing countries are very real to us and a project to help others was a natural fit.
Because we were so impressed with Plan’s work in Benin, helping to raise money for another Plan project was the obvious choice. Plan’s staff in the U.S. and Canada worked closely with us to pick a project that aligned with our interests. We ultimately selected a project that would build schools and sanitation facilities in Guinea, another West African nation. Plan helped us set up websites to track the donations and provided endless administrative support. The ease of putting together our “registry” was a true gift during our hectic wedding planning.
We really wanted to encourage our guests to focus on this project (and not to buy us any other gifts) so we set a very high goal of $25,000. We’re thrilled that our incredibly kind and generous family and friends exceeded this goal! After the donations were in, Plan provided us with regular updates on the progress of our project.
Whenever we think about how much better life will be for the students who attend the new schools in Guinea, we are filled with gratitude for our wonderful community that contributed. Honoring our marriage by improving the lives of others and strengthening another community is the best gift that we could possibly receive.