Poverty Resolutions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the eradication of dollar-a-day poverty in Haiti, devises original ways to spread awareness about global poverty and inspire people to act.
Their latest project, 5 Guys Shot with 21,000 Paintballs, uses paintballs to represent the 21,000 children who die each day from poverty-related causes, such as hunger and easily preventable diseases. Five friends volunteered to be on the receiving end of those paintballs and physically feel their impact.
Since it was uploaded to the PovertyResolutions YouTube channel two days ago, the video has already gained over 55,000 views and a trending spot on YouTube.
We caught up with Andrew Jones, co-founder of Poverty Resolutions and the guy wearing the tank top in the barrage, to learn more about the making of this project and how viewers can do their part to help end poverty.
Why did you choose paintballs as the symbols of children who die from poverty?
There are lots of statistics out there: 21,000 children die each day due to poverty related causes; 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day; etc.
Staggering statistics are often difficult to grasp, and simple numbers are very impersonal. It’s easy to forget that those numbers represent real people and real lives.
With this video, and with other videos we’ve produced, we try to help people visualize the statistic to make it seem more real and easier to understand. The goal is to get the viewer to remember the statistic and, more importantly, to remember that extreme poverty exists even though we don’t necessarily encounter it.
Why do you think the numbers shot up so drastically on this one?
The video is extreme. It took around four and a half minutes for 40 people to shoot 21,000 paintballs. Anyone who has been shot with a paintball knows it can hurt. You can see from the bruises in the video how bad it can be.
The video grabs your attention and makes you remember the statistic. That is exactly what we were going for.
Some YouTube comments are critical about the idea of creating a video just to raise awareness without actually raising any money. How would you address the haters?
Raising awareness is really just the first step. Our aim is that our videos will inspire others to take action. We hope that through our efforts we can change people’s attitudes and get them to realize that they can make a difference, even by doing something small.
A problem as daunting as global poverty isn’t something that one person or one organization can fix. It’s going to require a lot of people caring and acting to make a significant impact.
In addition to our videos, we also give educational presentations at schools and carry out sustainable development projects in Haiti.
What’s the next step for viewers after they watch and share the video?
We’ve just released our new website, PovertyWeek.com. On this site, people can find a variety of resources so that they can get involved in raising awareness and fighting global poverty. The site includes lesson plans, fundraising ideas, as well as our videos.
Next Tuesday, August 14, we’ll be releasing our documentary film, 1 Dollar Poverty. The film follows four men, including my brother Matt and I, who live for 28 days in post-earthquake Haiti on 1 dollar per day. The purpose of the trip was to truly experience poverty in hopes of gaining a better understanding of how we could help. We also wanted to share the story of the people of Haiti.
How much did it hurt to be slammed with 21,000 paintballs?
It killed. At one point, the shots started to slow down. We got excited because we thought it was almost over, but they were just reloading. The paintballs just kept coming. It felt like getting stung by a hundred bees every second. The bruises lasted about two weeks.