By Mireille Massue
The next time you hold a glass of clean drinking water, imagine staring into mucky water instead. Yes, the kind of ‘dirty water’ you wouldn’t even bring close to your lips. The water that causes cholera, diarrhea, vomiting etc.
And who would drink this ‘filth’, you ask? Well, just about half the population treading the surface of this planet – not because they want to, but because this is all they have.
The New York based philanthropist once had everything in his happening life. Until the day he declared spiritual, moral and emotional bankruptcy. This marked a new beginning as he discovered his calling. In 2006, he started a non-profit to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
The recently published Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion And a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World is a story of how Charity: Water began.
Water: The Gift of Life
"All these horrible parasitic diseases (cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis) are largely preventable. Most of them would go away with good water and sanitation. And then you could focus on the other crucial issues around poverty…"
Rebellion Comes at a Price
When Scott’s family moved to be closer to his father’s work, never did they realize that their lives would became a list of instructions on how to live with his mother’s illness resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning from an old gas furnace. When you’re restricted on what to wear, what-to-do rebellion becomes a choice to escape and Scott fled to NYC to become one of the city’s top nightclub promoters. It took ten years of an endless cycle of booze, women and drugs until it caught up to him and he was looking for a way out.
"The years of partying had been like a constant injection of adrenaline to my over worked system. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d laughed without being high or the last time I prayed. It took about ten years to pull it off, but somehow I’d managed to become the worst version of myself. "
In 2004, Scott Harrison boarded the Anastasia one of Mercy Ships (a sailing hospital ship) headed for Liberia, West Africa. This is where he would meet his mentor Dr. Gary Parker - , the ships medical officer -, photograph unthinkable human suffering and learn the life-threatening effects of contaminated dirty water.
After two years of photographing untold stories, Scott needed to offer people hope; in 2006 he founded Charity: water, a non-profit bringing clean and safe water to people in the developing nations resulting in people thirsting for more.
"What if my photos and stories could inspire people just like me, people who’d never thought much about charity before, to give their time, talent, and money to help the poor?"
Thirst the story of Charity: Water
‘It virtually takes a global village’ - is the essence of Charity: Water Thirst is a book that is easy to read, the stories are heartwarming and heartbreaking and yet Scott’s conversational style of sharing his vision and belief, his energy and infectious passion that everyone should have clean water leaves you inspired and wanting to learn more.
Charity: water was built on passion, on belief the impossible can be made possible, yet it wasn’t easy. Scott knew he would have to convince people that his charity would donate 100% of all the funds they raised to the charity. In June 2008 they were weeks of closing their doors when a miracle happened and a donor donated one million dollars to keep them running.
Scott Harrison has donated the advance and all the proceeds of the book Thirst to the charity side of the ledger. When you buy the book and forward your receipt to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org) you unlock a $30 donation that will bring clean water to one person.
This could be your calling towards making the world a better place.