gratitude-a-thon day 319: making music out of nothing

What do you see? How do you feel when you see a photo like this?

I am working on some advertising for a really great non-profit called Forgirlsake, that financially helps girls receive an education in third world countries, where it’s particularly hard to do so. There are multiple reasons that it’s a challenge, ranging from not having enough money in their families, to not having proper bathroom facilities at schools, so that when a girl begins to menstruate, she cannot take adequate care of herself, and has to stop attending (can you imagine this flying in our country). The reason the organization is committed to girls and not boys is because when girls get educated, they can really affect change in their communities (also if there is only money in a family for one child to go to school, it’s always the boy and not the girl chosen). When girls go to school, they don’t get married at 14, or get pregnant as an adolescent.  They can join the workforce, helping to lift their families out of poverty. Educated girls get a voice in things, like how to spend money, which they will choose to spend on education for their children. This one act can help an entire community change for the better. Girls create real change in a way that boys do not (not trying to sell the XY species down the river, but statistically, this is just the truth).  Anyway, I’m happy to help this organization because its goal is powerful and makes a real impact on the world. My art director partner Stephanie Zelman started it several years ago at a high school reunion with some of her old pals (I must be a slacker because at the only high school reunion I ever went to, I just worried about whether I looked fat. Ok, I was four months pregnant, but still, I sure wasn’t thinking about starting a charity).

What’s really interesting about this project is that one of the things I’ve run into while doing the creative is the idea that it’s hard to connect to people who live so differently than we do, whose realities are so foreign. We forget that inside they’re just like we are, falling in love, hating to clean up, laughing at jokes. They likely don’t have our go, go, go mentality of jamming as much as possible into a day and feeling like a loser unless they do (they have one up on us in that way), but in their hearts, I believe they have a lot of the same hopes we all have. Still, it’s hard to imagine, right? Anyway, it is for me. When I see a photograph of a people in a third world country, I instantly feel that they are grateful for what they have and don’t need more (probably because they are so often smiling), and hold onto your seats for this next admission: that they are, well, sort of simple. That sounds awful, doesn’t it? But getting into the psychology of how people respond to things, is useful when you’re trying to reach them. There is a way in which we need to feel a connection to a group, if we’re going to help them. And that’s what I’m trying to find in order to make the advertising compelling enough to get people to make a donation–how you, yeah you, will need to feel to take action and open your wallet, when there are so many other charities right here at home that are vying for your attention and money. And that takes honesty about my initial impressions, even if it does make me sound like a shallow witch face meanie head.

Anyway, I found this video that really helped me today to humanize the face of poverty and the third world, and show that like my inner self tells me, people are just people, loving music and art and laughter and family and friends. Just like me.  I think it will help me work on this project. It already helped me have a better outlook on today.

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