This is what my mum used to say to me. I didn't realize what it actually meant but as a nine year old I took it to mean -- don't just talk about something, do it. I guess this always instilled a great urgency to get things done. 12 years ago, armed with $700 from my savings account, I co-founded Architecture for Humanity as a mechanism to get the design and construction profession involved in humanitarian work around the world. After many years in the wilderness, bit by bit we began to work on acupuncture projects, small interventions that create social and economic change in a community. This ranged from small medical facilities in Kenya to weaving cooperatives in India. Domestically we've been involved in upgrading homeless shelters, sustainable housing on the Navajo and Hopi reservations and responding to rebuilding needs of East Biloxi and New Orleans post-Katrina.
This year we've been involved in 53 projects in 16 countries. Everything from community facility building in Chile and Kenya, post-disaster reconstruction in Haiti and Pakistan, low-cost health clinics in India, sustainable housing in the United States, schools in the Philippines and Uganda and youth sports development work in Brazil, Mali and Namibia. In 2010 our architects, designers and construction professionals showed they were all trousers.
Community sports facilities built in the favelas of Rio (l) and rural Kenya (r)
As we say goodbye to the decade and enter the 10s we are closing out the year with an online $100,000 campaign. In the past week we've raised $89,000. As I watching hundreds of $25 donations come in, I've got to stop asking for support and practice what I preach. So from now until 1/1/11 (PST) I'll match any 'sponsor a day of design' donation made to the organization.
Chief Eternal Optimist, Architecture for Humanity