Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Barefoot Billionaire Campaign

We'd like to thank the many NGOs and NPOs from around the world that have contacted us regarding our project to spend two weeks in June volunteering our services as videographers/photographers.

We've had enquiries from India, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya and China. Each and every one, a very deserving and worthwhile candidate.

One group has indicated they may be able to come up with some funding, others have had to admit that the cost is just way beyond their means. No shame in that at all, it is beyond our means too!

"Funding" and "stumbling block" are words that frequently appear together when we are talking about grassroots NGO/NPOs!

We are busy networking, sending off emails, making calls.. posting here, on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

With persistence we'll get there, and hopefully we'll reach all of those wonderful grassroots non-profits who give up so much of their personal lives - and in many cases their meagre savings - to do their bit to making this a cleaner, greener, more peaceful and more caring world for everyone.

For every well-known and well funded NGO that is always in the news with some glamourous Hollywood star fronting as their goodwill ambassador, there are literally thousands, tens of thousands of NGOs and grassroots groups who are barely making ends meet - and frequently not making ends meet - while still doing amazing work.

Most of you know that my day job is as a television news anchor/editor and producer. One of the stories on our news broadcast at TVB tonight was the Forbes list of the world's latest billionaires.

Staggering, staggering amounts of money. Breathtaking wealth. Numbers that are impossible to comprehend.

But knowing a little about the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous through Hollywood movies, magazines, TMZ, the various scandals they get themselves into, and so on, it got me thinking about the difference between THEM and US and how to put it into a narrative or framework that might be slightly more comprehensible.

We all know shoes. We all need to wear them.

Take these for example.

A pair of Christian Louboutin, Sexy Strass 100 Swarovski crystal peep-toe pumps would set you back 2,700 U.S. dollars.. or the equivalent of an economy class airfare for Shirley and I to visit Uganda. With the 1,000 dollars we've already pledged to throw into the mix, I figure at a pinch we might be able to get the project done on that budget.

If someone would consider foregoing their next pair of Jimmy Choo, Vienna multi-strap wedge sandals, a bit of a bargain at 940 U.S. dollars, we might even be able to take along some farming tools and perhaps even buy half a dozen goats too.

So, this got me to thinking.

Maybe we should initiate a "Barefoot Billionaire" campaign... give up their next pair of shoes for charity!

Find some billionaires willing to be photographed "sans footware" - and they donate what they would have paid for their next pair of shoes direct to grassroots groups.

If we got the socks too, perhaps we could fly business class!

Okay, maybe not. I'm sure we could find someone who would trade those socks into high-energy meals, rehydration kits, or mosquito nets.

The 2011 Billionaires List breaks two records: total number of listees (1,210) and combined wealth ($4.5 trillion).
So if just 10 percent participated, we could reach a deserving group in 121 countries around the world.

And with 35 of these billionaires living in Hong Kong, we would not have to go far to take the pictures!

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