"It's not something I could've gone home and just forgotten about," Zendaya tells PEOPLE of meeting the boys in South Africa

All Zendaya wants for her birthday is to do good.

The actress, singer, dancer and overall queen of empowerment celebrated her 19th birthday on Sept. 1 by launching a CrowdRise fundraiser to help three South African brothers who lost their parents to AIDS.

Zendaya met the brothers while on a trip to South Africa with her family in July through UNAIDS.

“The oldest brother isn’t much older than I am, but he’s looking after his two siblings,” Zendaya tells PEOPLE. “When I found the conditions they were living in and the things they were having to deal with – getting food or finding shelter – nobody should have to struggle with that, especially not children.”

The young star was so moved by the boys’ story, she decided to dedicate her birthday to helping them get out of their temporary settlement and into a safe home.

“They’re living in a metal storage bin for construction,” she says. “It’s not livable. There’s no running water, there’s no plumbing, there’s no sanitation, no electricity.”

“It’s not something I could’ve gone home and just forgotten about,” she adds.

Fans who donate just $10 to Zendaya’s campaign will be entered for the chance to video chat with her.

“Every dollar you donate will go directly to this cause,” she wrote on her campaign page. “I can’t do it alone, but I believe that together we can truly change their lives.”

The campaign ends on Sept. 30. Donations can be made here.