Bangladesh: One Child, One School


All it took was one child to talk about his destroyed school in front of a camera:  through the following months, thanks to Shawn Ahmed of the Uncultured Project and Nerdfighters, the world rallied through YouTube and raised enough money to rebuild the school.

Pidahouse on the Signboard by Shawn Ahmed under a CC BY NC SA license.

This video tells the story: Cyclon Sidr hit Bangladesh back in 2007: Shawn recorded the damage, shocked at so many children’s lives who were lost and then focused on a boy, Pidahouse, a survivor who took him around the town showing him the damage done to the school. After the video aired, the Nerdfighters, a community around the VlogBrothers YouTube channel helped the Uncultured Project raise money to help the boy. First raising enough to repair the roof and then, as more money came in, to rebuild, repaint the school and even get new desks. What makes it even more impressive is that those donations aren’t even tax-exempt since as Shawn writes in his site:

This isn’t a charity or NGO – this is just an experiment in charitable community.

Because it’s not anything formal, donations are not tax-deductible.

From the relief efforts back in 2007 and 2008, to the clean water campaign. Although he has many videos on his site, he doesn’t post with much frequency, and it may be a good thing, even if it hurts his YouTube ratings:

Although I want to, I also can’t make videos on a regular & frequent schedule. I’m forced to balance doing a good job on-the-ground with spending time making videos.

In some cases, the projects I do take years to complete. They require planning, networking, budgets, on-the-ground trust building, and also need to account for natural disasters & political unrest which push back schedules.

Following, a video of Shawn’s appearance at VidCon, a conference on online video, where he shared a video with the Audience: The Boy who Lived is a video showing a story that took 1000 days to tell.

Shawn Ahmed’s blog posts are touching, insightful and broad: they touch upon many different topics related to poverty: from Doing good, feeling good and Voluntourism, to the ethics of nudity in poverty photography, while also making a case for charities to seek beyond the celebrity spokesperson and instead invest in the average person and their online audiences. Follow and subscribe to his YouTube channel for a dose of optimism and a glimpse on how one person can change people’s lives, a little bit at a time.

Original from Global Voices Online.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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