“How Can I Get Involved?” – An Answer

Hey to everyone who have recently stumbled upon this site. The number one comment/inquiry I have been getting is: “How can I get involved?”. Since it’s becoming harder and harder to respond to every email and comment personally – let me answer that question in this blog post:

1) Volunteering and/or Seeking a Position?: I might have given the wrong impression with some of my videos. I’m just one guy – I’m not an organization, NGO, or charity. I am honored that people are asking for “a position in my organization” or to “volunteer for my cause” – but what I’m doing isn’t really anything on that kind of scale. Volunteering is important though – and I highly recommend those interested in checking out both Save the Children and the VSO (that is the VSO UK site – but they have branches in many countries).

2) Sending Supplies?: I’m kind of weary of people sending supplies from abroad given my previous bad experiences with corrupt bureaucrats at the customs office. A very supportive company (Vestergaard Frandsen) had donated some water purification straws (called LifeStraws) and insecticide treated sheeting (called ZeroFly) and had it shipped to me here in Bangladesh. But, when it came to picking it up at the customs office – the local bureaucrats wouldn’t release it without over a $100 in trumped up fees and bribes (or “commissions” as they put it). I’ve even heard of a Canadian NGO/charity which had trouble having their water purification equipment released during the deadly floods of last year. Whether its non-profit charity work or time-sensitive disaster relief – the corrupt bureaucrats at the customs office don’t seem to care.

3) Making a Donation?: I ended the very first video on YouTube with “Don’t worry – I’m not asking for your money”. But, ever since then, I’ve been asked repeatedly if I would consider setting up a PayPal account and start accepting donations. My work in Bangladesh is admittedly very small scale. The big name organizations like Save the Children and smaller (but more personal) organizations like Nari Jibon operate with a greater economy of scale. Donating to them makes more sense because your donation can go further with them. But, given the frequent requests, I am in the process of setting up a PayPal donation system. I will keep you posted. Although even when that is setup – I’d still recommend you donate to one of the recommended charities. They are tax deductible and I won’t be unfortunately.

Above all – more than volunteering, more than making a donation or sending supplies – the most important thing you can do is to make this a priority in your life. Too many people ignore these pressing issues using rhetoric or apathy. Making the world a better place for others – makes it a better place for us. As Dr. Jeffrey Sachs said, “eveywhere we share the same common human bond”. Dr. Sachs (my inspiration for this project and author of the book “The End of Poverty”) believes we can end poverty in our lifetime. I believe him. But in order for that to happen – we have to make it a priority in both our lives and in the political realm.

38 Responses to ““How Can I Get Involved?” – An Answer”


  1. 1 Jolene

    Hi Shawn I’m Jolene from Malaysia(if you even heard of my country) You did an awesome job in Bangladesh cause there isn’t much people with the same inspiration and heart as you.I somehow stumble across you in the Youtube and googled up on the uncultured project.I myself do a little charity work with a local band and been on mission trip to Sri Lanka on my own.But there is just too little and too many..Keep it up and don’t let people ever pull you down or discourage you cause even with a few you had help goes a long way in someones life..take care =)

  2. 2 Jolene

    Hi Shawn I’m Jolene from Malaysia(if you even heard of my country) You did an awesome job in Bangladesh cause there isn’t much people with the same inspiration and heart as you.I somehow stumble across you in the Youtube and googled up on the uncultured project.I myself do a little charity work with a local band and been on mission trip to Sri Lanka on my own.But there is just too little and too many..Keep it up and don’t let people ever pull you down or discourage you cause even with a few you had help goes a long way in someones life..take care =)

  3. 3 Jolene

    Hi Shawn I’m Jolene from Malaysia(if you even heard of my country) You did an awesome job in Bangladesh cause there isn’t much people with the same inspiration and heart as you.I somehow stumble across you in the Youtube and googled up on the uncultured project.I myself do a little charity work with a local band and been on mission trip to Sri Lanka on my own.But there is just too little and too many..Keep it up and don’t let people ever pull you down or discourage you cause even with a few you had help goes a long way in someones life..take care =)

  4. 4 chris

    this is really moving, i’m sure it will inspire many other people to get involved including myself.
    thanks Shawn.

  5. 5 chris

    this is really moving, i’m sure it will inspire many other people to get involved including myself.
    thanks Shawn.

  6. 6 chris

    this is really moving, i’m sure it will inspire many other people to get involved including myself.
    thanks Shawn.

  7. 7 Teacher

    In your video of the working children…Your words on the screen are improper…”your Muslim and your name is Johnny” should be “you are” or “You’re”. Shameful.

  8. 8 Teacher

    In your video of the working children…Your words on the screen are improper…”your Muslim and your name is Johnny” should be “you are” or “You’re”. Shameful.

  9. 9 One step at A Time

    if we can somehow pass this momentum to everyone who is well off…with intentions to deliver…an equitable society can be made. “One small step for [you], [can] [be] a giant leap for mankind” – An altered quote from The Guy Who Walked The MOON

  10. 10 One step at A Time

    if we can somehow pass this momentum to everyone who is well off…with intentions to deliver…an equitable society can be made. “One small step for [you], [can] [be] a giant leap for mankind” – An altered quote from The Guy Who Walked The MOON

  11. 11 Alex

    Hey Shawn, just came across your videos on youtube. Great work … have studied development communication myself in my masters’… unfortunately have debts with damily and bank for education but wish I could help somehow … you are doing an important job of telling people the situation … I bow before you, my biggest respect for your work! May the force be with you!

  12. 12 Alex

    Hey Shawn, just came across your videos on youtube. Great work … have studied development communication myself in my masters’… unfortunately have debts with damily and bank for education but wish I could help somehow … you are doing an important job of telling people the situation … I bow before you, my biggest respect for your work! May the force be with you!

  13. 13 Kat

    I just want to say thank you. I am a college student who is deeply disturbed by how much help is needed and how little I can do. However, you have shown me that I should not be so easily discouraged because one person is enough to affect the lives of millions. Keep up the amazing work!

  14. 14 Kat

    I just want to say thank you. I am a college student who is deeply disturbed by how much help is needed and how little I can do. However, you have shown me that I should not be so easily discouraged because one person is enough to affect the lives of millions. Keep up the amazing work!

  15. 15 Ameena

    Hey…its truly amazing to know that their are people who still care. When I saw your video I actually cried…its really sad to see the hardship that others go through. Because when people think about themselves they compare their “so called hardships” to the millionaires when in reality they have “enough” more then those children in other countries. I’m only a freshmen in college but I definitely intend on helping one way or another.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope that the viewers on YouTube and everywhere else will contribute to helping you.

  16. 16 Ameena

    Hey…its truly amazing to know that their are people who still care. When I saw your video I actually cried…its really sad to see the hardship that others go through. Because when people think about themselves they compare their “so called hardships” to the millionaires when in reality they have “enough” more then those children in other countries. I’m only a freshmen in college but I definitely intend on helping one way or another.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope that the viewers on YouTube and everywhere else will contribute to helping you.

  17. 17 Ameena

    Hey…its truly amazing to know that their are people who still care. When I saw your video I actually cried…its really sad to see the hardship that others go through. Because when people think about themselves they compare their “so called hardships” to the millionaires when in reality they have “enough” more then those children in other countries. I’m only a freshmen in college but I definitely intend on helping one way or another.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope that the viewers on YouTube and everywhere else will contribute to helping you.

  18. 18 Moumita

    Hey Shawn.I just saw your videos on YouTube and i think you are doing a great job! I myself am from Bangladesh and am really inspired with your ideas. My school had this International day thing and our club raised a little more than 300$ to send to Bangladesh. We are also trying to do more fund raisers for the people of Bangladesh.When i went this summer i felt really bad and wished i could do something and am really glad people like you are volunteering.

    Thanks!

  19. 19 Moumita

    Hey Shawn.I just saw your videos on YouTube and i think you are doing a great job! I myself am from Bangladesh and am really inspired with your ideas. My school had this International day thing and our club raised a little more than 300$ to send to Bangladesh. We are also trying to do more fund raisers for the people of Bangladesh.When i went this summer i felt really bad and wished i could do something and am really glad people like you are volunteering.

    Thanks!

  20. 20 Moumita

    Hey Shawn.I just saw your videos on YouTube and i think you are doing a great job! I myself am from Bangladesh and am really inspired with your ideas. My school had this International day thing and our club raised a little more than 300$ to send to Bangladesh. We are also trying to do more fund raisers for the people of Bangladesh.When i went this summer i felt really bad and wished i could do something and am really glad people like you are volunteering.

    Thanks!

  21. 21 Humanity

    Thank you!

  22. 22 Humanity

    Thank you!

  23. 23 Humanity

    Thank you!

  24. 24 Arielle

    hi Shawn,
    I think it is amazing that you are doing such wonderful things for these people!
    I really encourage you to keep up the incredible work! You are shinning, don’t stop. Most of the people in other countries will never experience the love you are pouring out! I want you to keep pouring out compassion and love! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I hope to go to different countries some day to, maybe I’ll meet you. Thank you again!
    Arielle from America

  25. 25 Arielle

    hi Shawn,
    I think it is amazing that you are doing such wonderful things for these people!
    I really encourage you to keep up the incredible work! You are shinning, don’t stop. Most of the people in other countries will never experience the love you are pouring out! I want you to keep pouring out compassion and love! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I hope to go to different countries some day to, maybe I’ll meet you. Thank you again!
    Arielle from America

  26. 26 Arielle

    hi Shawn,
    I think it is amazing that you are doing such wonderful things for these people!
    I really encourage you to keep up the incredible work! You are shinning, don’t stop. Most of the people in other countries will never experience the love you are pouring out! I want you to keep pouring out compassion and love! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I hope to go to different countries some day to, maybe I’ll meet you. Thank you again!
    Arielle from America

  27. 27 Shawn

    Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments πŸ˜€

    And to the “Teacher” – yes, I momentarily forgot my elementary school English grammar. But, I would have imagined the poverty of the children would be more shameful than the grammatical errors. To each his/her own I guess.

  28. 28 Shawn

    Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments πŸ˜€

    And to the “Teacher” – yes, I momentarily forgot my elementary school English grammar. But, I would have imagined the poverty of the children would be more shameful than the grammatical errors. To each his/her own I guess.

  29. 29 Shawn

    Thanks to everyone for all the kind comments πŸ˜€

    And to the “Teacher” – yes, I momentarily forgot my elementary school English grammar. But, I would have imagined the poverty of the children would be more shameful than the grammatical errors. To each his/her own I guess.

  30. 30 Joe

    Hi Shawn, great work buddy.

    If anyone else is reading and would like to donate even a small amount there is an organization called Kiva.org. You can donate as little as $25.

    Your donations are actually loans to hard working people like this who don’t have access to affordable loans. Their pay-back rates are in the high 90’s and I’ve personally been paid back each time. I just thought I’d throw this out there for people who would perhaps like to get a little more bang for their buck (as you can keep donating after it’s paid back).

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone from Bangladesh on Kiva but good hard working people are good hard working people, no matter where they’re from in the world.

    Sorry if you’ve covered Kiva elsewhere. I just came from your Youtube video. Anyway, great work and God Bless.

  31. 31 Joe

    Hi Shawn, great work buddy.

    If anyone else is reading and would like to donate even a small amount there is an organization called Kiva.org. You can donate as little as $25.

    Your donations are actually loans to hard working people like this who don’t have access to affordable loans. Their pay-back rates are in the high 90’s and I’ve personally been paid back each time. I just thought I’d throw this out there for people who would perhaps like to get a little more bang for their buck (as you can keep donating after it’s paid back).

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone from Bangladesh on Kiva but good hard working people are good hard working people, no matter where they’re from in the world.

    Sorry if you’ve covered Kiva elsewhere. I just came from your Youtube video. Anyway, great work and God Bless.

  32. 32 Joe

    Hi Shawn, great work buddy.

    If anyone else is reading and would like to donate even a small amount there is an organization called Kiva.org. You can donate as little as $25.

    Your donations are actually loans to hard working people like this who don’t have access to affordable loans. Their pay-back rates are in the high 90’s and I’ve personally been paid back each time. I just thought I’d throw this out there for people who would perhaps like to get a little more bang for their buck (as you can keep donating after it’s paid back).

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone from Bangladesh on Kiva but good hard working people are good hard working people, no matter where they’re from in the world.

    Sorry if you’ve covered Kiva elsewhere. I just came from your Youtube video. Anyway, great work and God Bless.

  33. 33 Shawn

    Hey Joe,

    I hadn’t talked about Kiva yet – but I have heard good things about them. I hadn’t actually really delved too much into micro-finance in my videos or blogs just yet.

    – Shawn

  34. 34 Shawn

    Hey Joe,

    I hadn’t talked about Kiva yet – but I have heard good things about them. I hadn’t actually really delved too much into micro-finance in my videos or blogs just yet.

    – Shawn

  35. 35 Shawn

    Hey Joe,

    I hadn’t talked about Kiva yet – but I have heard good things about them. I hadn’t actually really delved too much into micro-finance in my videos or blogs just yet.

    – Shawn

  36. 36 kbw

    Shawn:

    Thanks for the link to narijibonusa website. Through links on that site, readers can make very helpful donations to Nari Jibon through Give2Asia foundation (and tax deductible in USA and Canada). Readers can learn more about Nari Jibon through the English blog (narijibon.blogspot.com and links to Bangla blog), words, pictures, and videos and the alternative training in computers, english, blogging, tailoring, and bangla that we provide to girls and women in dhaka, Bangladesh. We believe in providing skills not stipends.

    Good luck with your fine work!

    kathy for nari jibon project

  37. 37 kbw

    Shawn:

    Thanks for the link to narijibonusa website. Through links on that site, readers can make very helpful donations to Nari Jibon through Give2Asia foundation (and tax deductible in USA and Canada). Readers can learn more about Nari Jibon through the English blog (narijibon.blogspot.com and links to Bangla blog), words, pictures, and videos and the alternative training in computers, english, blogging, tailoring, and bangla that we provide to girls and women in dhaka, Bangladesh. We believe in providing skills not stipends.

    Good luck with your fine work!

    kathy for nari jibon project

  38. 38 kbw

    Shawn:

    Thanks for the link to narijibonusa website. Through links on that site, readers can make very helpful donations to Nari Jibon through Give2Asia foundation (and tax deductible in USA and Canada). Readers can learn more about Nari Jibon through the English blog (narijibon.blogspot.com and links to Bangla blog), words, pictures, and videos and the alternative training in computers, english, blogging, tailoring, and bangla that we provide to girls and women in dhaka, Bangladesh. We believe in providing skills not stipends.

    Good luck with your fine work!

    kathy for nari jibon project

  1. 1 The Uncultured Project: An indepth look at its past and present. « Glimpses of Humanity

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