Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Water & Sanitation

Sesame Street's Raya is turning 6! Let's wish her a happy birthday

March 22nd is a very special day for us at Global Citizen. First, it’s World Water Day- a day to recognize the important role that water plays in all of our lives. But it’s also significant for another reason, because on this year, our good friend Raya is turning 6!!

Last year, one of our key priorities at Global Citizen was breaking the “poo-taboo”. Because people felt embarrassed to talk about sanitation, it was an issue that got far too little attention, to the detriment of people living in extreme poverty.

Fortunately, my girl Raya stepped up as a champion for water and sanitation. Prior to last year’s Global Citizen Festival, she shared this special message with global citizens:

Then, Raya came all the way down from Sesame Street to join us on the Great Lawn in Central Park.

Here she is backstage at the festival with Elmo:

And here they are catching up with Jim Kim, President of the World Bank.

Raya is an amazing six year old. She is constantly reminding us about serious problems people are facing everyday. Did you know that 2.5 billion people don't have access to a toilet or latrine, and 783 million people do not have access to clean, safe water? As a result, people are getting sick- really sick. The most common illness associated with a lack of access to water and sanitation is diarrhea, resulting in 1,400 children dying needlessly each day.

To address this, we have to follow Raya’s lead and become advocates for water and sanitation!

Right now, Raya and Elmo are engaging children and families with positive health behaviors related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). In collaboration with a range of partners, new materials for children are being designed for afterschool programs so that kids can learn about the importance of water and sanitation.

To help Raya spread the word, share Raya’s birthday message to support WASH Up! We’re calling on all of Raya’s friends to wish her a happy birthday and share her special World Water Day message.

Reach out to your friends on twitter or share this article on Facebook. Education and awareness are always the first steps towards real change. Let’s help create a world where all kids can grow up with access to clean water and sanitation!

And a happy happy birthday to you, Raya!