How Living in Poverty Completely Changed Matt Damon’s Life
Matt Damon’s exploits in front of and behind the camera have not kept the actor from pursuing a particular humanitarian venture close to his heart. Almost a decade ago, he and Gary White launched the Water.org, a charity whose primary objective is to deliver safe water and sanitation to everyone.
Over the years, the organization has had tremendous success, changing lives of more than 16 million people to date. They do agree, however, that a lot more needs to be done to meet their goal exhaustively.
According to the award-winning actor, his passion for water equality came from his upbringing. In a recent CNBC interview, he admitted to thinking that much of the drive came from his parents.
When he was a teenager, his mother took him to Mexico and Guatemala, where he got to bear witness to cases of extreme poverty in these regions. This had a profound impact on him, Damon said while speaking to CNBC’s Tania Bryer in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Damon says that frequent travels with his parents when he was younger gave him the opportunity to see how people from different countries and cultures lived. Consequently, he was able to come face to face with realities that he would otherwise not have witnessed back home.
In line with this family tradition, Damon is trying to do the same to his children, hoping that it will have the same effect as it did him. Having gone through the experience, he – with the help of his wife – is appropriately poised to lead them along this path, helping his kids get involved and understand the outside world.
Non-issue? I Don’t Think So
A deserving A-list star, Damon is a popular figure around the world. However, he still finds it odd that people instantaneously know who he is whenever he steps out in public. Nevertheless, he sees this a privilege – one that he could positively exploit to address issues that may not have a direct impact on his country.
The fact that it is seemingly a non-issue in the Western world fuels his zeal. Water scarcity, according to Damon, is a complex, exciting, and important issue. This is what provides a firm support base to battle extreme poverty, and the fact that people don’t talk about it often does not augur well with him.
Forums such as the WEF provide Damon with his much-needed platform, enabling him to draw the focus away from his acting career and direct it towards his more humanitarian side. Fortunately for him, his plan is working. According to him, corporations are gradually picking up the narrative, getting more involved, and pushing for social change. In his book, change is happening. And it’s happening for the better.
These companies are providing the necessary backing he needs, in addition to pouring real money into his agenda, and really showing that they care. Their contribution matters to millennials, and it matters to their consumers. Matt couldn’t have asked for anything more.
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