The Uncultured Project – Diaster Relief Items

I came to Bangladesh with no training and no aid or development experience. My only real assets are my enthusiasm and my compulsion to try and make a difference. Here’s where things are for me now: I have things to give away, but am trying to find a way to get them to those who need it the most:
Uncultured Project Cyclone Relief

  • A) LifeStraws – portable water purification straws capable of filtering deadly bacteria from any surface water source. Estimated lifetime: 1 year on average use. Number of items: 45 (used to be 50). Donated to me by Vestergaard Frandsen.
  • B) ZeroFly – long-lasting insecticide treated sheets. Can be used as roofing for low income housing. It is water proof and it’s insecticide is the same used in insecticide treated mosquito nets (safe for humans). If a mosquito comes into contact with the roof – it will die. Helps protect against malaria during the night and Dengue Fever during the day. Estimated lifetime: 2 years for the insecticide, but the sheets themselves remain waterproof forever. Number of items: 25. Donated to me by Vestergaard Frandsen.
  • C) Blankets – locally made, locally purchased. I count that as a two-fold impact because the money goes into the local economy. Number of items: 70. The cost to me was 14,000 taka or over $200 USD.
  • D) Water Bottles – ever since I met “Mo” (featured in Episode Three of my YouTube videos), I now know the importance of water bottles in this country. Especially now, water bottles can be used to store purified or boiled water. It can also be given in bulk to an individual because – for many industrious people like Mo – these items are as good as cash.

Not visible but also part of my equipment to give away:

  • Two hand-cranked LED-based flashlights – brought from Canada.
  • One remaining long-lasting, insecticide treated mosquito net. Donated to me by Vestergaard Frandsen.

I tried distributing items myself and that really only works out when you know the people in the area and can get to an area yourself. When I distributed 50 mosquito nets, I was shocked and angered to find that some rich people (i.e. they own a car, a brick house, and even have servants) came and pretended to be poor to get a free net! They essentially robbed from the poor to help themselves. I only found out a month or so later – when a resident familiar with the area was looking over my footage. Even I gave out water bottles during the floods – I was kind of sad that the 4×4 I was in couldn’t head deeper into the flood zone.

I really do need to partner with an NGO of some kind to make a meaningful difference. The problem is most NGOs laugh when they are talking about such low quantities. “Fifty water purification straws? Ha!” “70 blankets? LOL.” has been pretty much the reaction I have been getting. I know NGOs deal in massive quantities – but the way I see it, these 50 items could save fifty lives and 70 blankets could keep 70 families warm. I’m not capable of saving lives in bulk. But so far, finding a like-minded NGO has been hard – although I am still making inquiries. But I definitely feel the clock ticking on this one.

5 Responses to “The Uncultured Project – Diaster Relief Items”


  1. 1 Danny

    I don’t know about you, but item B looks like TNT to me…what’s your plan behind that? πŸ˜‰ haha

  2. 2 Danny

    I don’t know about you, but item B looks like TNT to me…what’s your plan behind that? πŸ˜‰ haha

  3. 3 sayeed

    Hi Shawn, I was searching flickr for any hi res picture related to Sidr for a charity poster I promised to design for a Bengali restaurant owner here in toronto as he is planning to collect funds from his diners. I couldn’t belief my eyes when I have found your response on this issue in Flickr and your blog over the week – the coverage surpassed even a veteran professianal journalist’s report for any national daily! I salute you sir!
    Well, I understand your frustration. Just let me tell you what we did here in toronto, we collected a small amount of money and sent it to a reputed cultural organization named ‘Chayanat'(You might have heard the name, they are the one who arrange the concert in Bengali new year day every year at Ramna park which has turned into a national festival)who are sending small teams of voluteers to the affected areas turn by turn. one of their ex-organizer here is coordinating the whole thing.

    If you are already in Dhaka, you can contact them at Dhanmondi Satmasjid road where their music school is located (Sorry no address, any Taxi cab will take you there). I am sure they won’t turn you down cause like you, they are too operating in small scale.
    Good luck.

  4. 4 sayeed

    Hi Shawn, I was searching flickr for any hi res picture related to Sidr for a charity poster I promised to design for a Bengali restaurant owner here in toronto as he is planning to collect funds from his diners. I couldn’t belief my eyes when I have found your response on this issue in Flickr and your blog over the week – the coverage surpassed even a veteran professianal journalist’s report for any national daily! I salute you sir!
    Well, I understand your frustration. Just let me tell you what we did here in toronto, we collected a small amount of money and sent it to a reputed cultural organization named ‘Chayanat'(You might have heard the name, they are the one who arrange the concert in Bengali new year day every year at Ramna park which has turned into a national festival)who are sending small teams of voluteers to the affected areas turn by turn. one of their ex-organizer here is coordinating the whole thing.

    If you are already in Dhaka, you can contact them at Dhanmondi Satmasjid road where their music school is located (Sorry no address, any Taxi cab will take you there). I am sure they won’t turn you down cause like you, they are too operating in small scale.
    Good luck.

  5. 5 psychic readings

    Great web site you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days.
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