Friday, March 23, 2012
Matt Damon Makes Water and Hope Accessible.
One day, Matt Damon went for a long walk with a girl in rural Zambia. It was almost at the end of his 10-day African visit. During his journey, he came to realize what it really means to be poor. Every day he saw Africans suffering from different things: AIDS, microfinance, education, and finally, water.
While walking with the young Zambian girl, he came up with one question. He asked her, “What do you want to be when you grew up, do you want to stay here?” She didn’t answer right away, but after she finished drawing water from a well, she finally answered his question. She said she wants to be a nurse in a big city called Lusaka. He recalled his own dream at the same age, but his situation was totally different from hers. She had to walk an hour every day to collect water for her family.
He realized she couldn’t receive a proper education within this way of life. And the water was not even clean and safe. Something began clicking in his mind. He wanted to help her.
“Now she can hope to be a nurse and contribute to the economic engine of Zambia,” he says. “Of all the different things that keep people in this kind of death spiral of extreme poverty, water just seemed so huge.” He pauses. “And it doesn’t have to be.”
After his return from Africa, he established Water.org, a charity he co-founded in 2009 with water expert Gary White, to provide Africans with easy access to water. They work together to get funding from investors and businesses.