I’ve had the good fortune to get to speak in public hundreds of times, about any manner of subjects. But I’ve never, never had the moments following one of my talks bring me to tears.
Until yesterday. I was asked to go onstage at a conference full of folks who use social media tools to help their businesses, the kind of audience I’ve addressed countless times. And I told them a story that had nothing to do with blogs, or Facebook, or how to use the Internet. Instead, I told them a true story I’ve never said out loud on any stage before.
Optimism Is Best Expressed Through Action
As I said in the video above, I’ve been haunted by a simple quote from Gandhi: “Sanitation is more important than independence.” Those were the words of a man who gave his life fighting for that independence. It’s that important.
Last year, we made our mark together. The final campaign raised over $9,200 to support clean water projects in Rwanda, a story so compelling that charity: water documented it on their own site. And now I’m pushing us to do even better. We’re going to more than double that goal, and I need your help to do it. And if you’re skeptical? I get it. There are absolutely valid arguments that the water problem only gets solved at global scale through good policy and good governance. Philanthropy or charity certainly aren’t going to solve the entire class of problems that underlie lack of access to clean water. But our actions can have real impact, and I know because I’ve seen it first-hand. Just as importantly, I’ve spent time first-hand with members of the charity: water team and researched Gram Vikas, their on-the-ground partner in Orissa, and have found their tactics to be thoughtful and sustainable, without the usual condescension or disconnect that often accompanies such slick campaigns from the wealthy world.
I believe in this campaign, and it’s the most important, meaningful project that I could direct your time, attention and money toward. So please: Give $45. Or just give what you can.