Recently, a donor raised concerns about the quality of the construction work being done on a new school I'm helping locals build. His concerns were all raised by a single instagram.
From this single photo, the donor concluded that the rods were not joined properly. Therefore, this building is being built improperly. Therefore, this school won't last. Etc etc etc.,.
I'd like to address this and I'd like to start by sharing a classification system I've developed as an educational tool to explain to others how various charities build schools.
The Latest Chapter
A Muslim’s Thoughts on 9/11
As a Muslim, I feel personally ashamed at what happened on September 11th, 2001. I know I shouldn’t be – I wasn’t (nor any Muslim I could possibly personally know) involved in that heinous act.
But Islam emphasizes unity. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Canadian Muslim, Arab Muslim, or a Bangladeshi Muslim. It makes me think: the 9/11 hijackers probably prayed in the direction of Mecca and fasted for Ramadan just like me.
Yet, the first thing that most Muslims around the world did was point out that the perpetrators of 9/11 don’t represent them or Islam. As if distancing ourselves ...
Have To Be Poor To Help The Poor?
If you follow me on Twitter, you already know I'm back in Bangladesh. When I'm Dhaka, I live with my maternal uncle and aunt. Lately, I've been noticing a trend.
Just a few days ago, when I came back home carrying a bunch of groceries, my uncle chastised me saying "you better not have used any donations to pay for those groceries!". In his mind, using donations - however small - for my own food, clothing, or anything that benefits me would be tantamount to stealing.
[caption id="attachment_3748" align="aligncenter" width="499" caption="Toilet paper, antibiotics, soap, and pajamas - not taking a salary from ...
Hey Shawn, I saw your Davos video (of course) and the one blaring thing I noticed is that you did not mention what is UNIQUE about YOU. Lots of people work on ending poverty. You even listed websites who are doing it too.. but you didn’t say.. what is special about YOU.
You’ve gotta start using that as your leverage. Thats why I gave YOU money instead of them. That’s why we follow you. You’ve got a unique audience because of the unique way you work – which is also important.
Mention it in your next davos, and in any of the other videos you make that describe what you do. The thing about not using guilt, about showing your viewers where the money goes.. use that. use the unique viewers you have.. we are not middle aged charity people.
We’re nerdfighters and youtubers and we are powerful – use it!
I posted this scan of the frontpage of that issue because I wanted to show you what the main story on the frontpage was. You might not think that a story about the plight and suffering in the people in the third world (the frontpage story) has anything to do with YouTube. But for me – and what I’ve devoted myself to these past two years of my life – they couldn’t be any more related.
We live in incredibly trying financial times. Forget the boardroom table, all of us are feeling this hardship at the dinner table. And money which could have been used to provide mosquito nets to every man, woman, and child in a malaria hot zone, or education to every child in the developing world, or clean water to every human being on the planet – is instead being spent on bailouts for Wall Street.
As it gets harder for us to convince politicians the importance of those beyond our borders – we’ll need new ways to continue the fight against global poverty. And YouTube is absolutely critical to that. This year’s Project for Awesome is a great example of that. We can keep the conversation going about global poverty well into a future where the mainstream media debates whether the day’s main story should be about a new bailout or Britney’s new single.
And, as my parents and I look into the family financial situation to see how many months (not years) this project can continue, this NY Times article is a poignant reminder of the fact that it is theoretically possible to make this project sustainable. All that we’ve been able to do together – all the lives this project has been able to touch – cost about 1/10th of what Michael Buckley earns through YouTube’s partnership program.
I’m not saying I will ever (or even deserve to be) as popular as Buck. Whether or not I can continue to sustain what I’m doing, I just hope that one of the greatest technologies of modern history can be used to fight one of the biggest plights that humanity faces.
Following-up on my blog post about the Tour de Nerdfighting – here’s my video from that event. There is also lots of deleted scenes and bonus footage from this event up on my secondary channel. Hope you check it out!
Hello from Plano, Texas! I’ve got some great news. First, I got to meet Hank & John Green. They are even more amazing in real life than they are online. If you want to see them, they are going on a Cross-America trip called the Tour de Nerdfighting. Check this map to see when and where they will be next – you can even RSVP by clicking on the city location.
Second, if you’ve ever wanted to make a donation but 1) Can’t or don’t want to use PayPal and 2) Don’t like how PayPal takes a cut of every donation – than there is a great opportunity for you to get involved in this project in a way that guarantees 100% of your donation is used. And best of all? I don’t ever have to touch a dime.
Hank and John will be accepting donations at every stop of their tour up until November 12th. On November 12th, they’ll be in Westport, Conneticut – the home town of Save the Children USA. If all goes according to plan – they’ll be handing over the donations directly to Save the Children. That money will be spent based on how you guys vote in my Challenge Poverty video. Voting is still open – so please do get involved!
I don’t have to touch your money, 100% of the funds raised go straight to helping the poor, you get to decide how it’s spent, and it all helps one of the world’s greatest international charities. How more awesome can it get?
Click the jump for some photos from the Plano event…
If you know John Green, you probably know him as a great vlogger, amazing writer, and all around awesome guy. But, with this project, I’ve been able to see another side of him. He’s been a great source of personal and emotional support for me. Even though he’s been a busy guy (and soon to get busier), he’s always made the time for me.
Whether I was ranting about how the well-to-do in Bangladesh sometimes look down and scorn me and this project, the challenges and hurdles I’ve had to overcome to do this project, or how I wish my relationship with my brother was as close as the relationship he has with his brother – John’s always been there with sage words of advice and support. This is his project as much as it’s mine and he deserves all the success that’s coming his way right now.
This is what I mean when I say I want to “YouTube with a Purpose”. If it wasn’t for YouTube, most of you wouldn’t be reading this. If it wasn’t for YouTube, I’d never get to meet Hank and John Green. If it wasn’t for YouTube, Hank would never have thought to donate to some guy with a crazy idea for a project in Bangladesh.
Photos, deleted scenes, and much more after the jump.