Shot @ Life
This is my second of three re-cap posts from this year's EVO conference. Today, I want to tell you about two keynote presentations that were given because they are too important and far too special not to share. This year at EVO, we saw how powerful blogs and social media can be to help affect change on small and large scales. The theme at this year's EVO conference was perspective and both keynote presentations educated us on how all of us can help raise awareness and bring about change when we shift our perspective and look at our own life and the lives of others differently.
On the second morning of the conference, Devi Thomas, director at the UN Foundation's Shot @ Life campaign, gave a passionate and informative talk about the campaign's mission to vaccinate children in developing countries across the globe. We were heartbroken to learn that a new mothers in many developing countries don't cry when their infants die because they expect that they will die soon after birth. It was equally sad to learn that one child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine.
But there is something we can all do to help and it is pretty exciting!
For the entire month of August, Shot at Life is hosting Blogust 2012: Blog Relay for Good, where 31 bloggers will publish an inspirational blog post each day. For every unique comment received on each post, $20 will be donated to Shot @ Life to provide vaccines for children in devloping countries. And all you have to do is sit down at your computer! Of course, there are many other ways you can participate in this wonderful campaign by reading more about how you can get involved. Be sure to also watch this video about Blogust. I love how such a simple idea will make such a huge difference for the lives of so many children!
The Global Soap Project
Photo credit: Justin Hackworth
Our other keynote presentation was given by Derreck Kayongo, founder of The Global Soap Project. Derreck is from Uganda and in 1979, he fled his home country with his family into Kenya to escape the tyrranical government that took power. He lived in a refugee camp where basic necessities like soap and a clean living environment were non-existent. He watched people die every day from illnesses brought on from lack of basic sanitation. Listening to Derreck tell his story has become one of the most humbling experiences of my life and one I will never forget. He is an amazing storyteller and despite the horrors and sadness that he witnessed and lived in his childhood, Derreck told us how he made a conscious decision to take his negative experiences, shift his perspective and use his ingenuity, resources and newfound opportunities to give people in developing countries the most basic of necessities: soap. Once he had finished telling us his story and the story of how The Global Soap project was born, there was not one dry eye in the room.
There are several ways we can get involved in this initiative, but we can also harness the power of social media by raising awareness on the various platforms that we use on a daily basis. Many hotels are now on Twitter and Facebook, and all it takes are a few taps on our keyboards to send a tweet or write on a Facebook wall encouraging the hotels we stay in to learn more about this incredible organization and its efforts.
I will never look at a bar of soap the same again, and I plan on spreading the word about The Global Soap Project from now on both here in my city and whenever I travel.
Both of these keynote presentations at EVO helped me shift my personal perspective and taught me that I don't have to travel far (or at all) to help make life better for others. I came back home from EVO with feelings of empowerment, inspiration and hope and I hope reading about these two initiatives make you feel the same.
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