Last year, the attendees of the devopsdays NYC conference used the money usually spent on t-shirts to drill a deep-bore water well for a village in Cambodia. They donated $2500 ($12/person) to Lotus Outreach, which quickly set out to find a suitable location, and a local partner organization to oversee the construction of the well. The result?
On July 5, 2014, clean, safe water started flowing from a newly-built well in the isolated Brormoay Commune in the Rike Reay Village, Veal Veng district, Pursat province, Cambodia. The well now serves 81 villagers, and even more people from the surrounding area during the dry months. The 36 village children, of whom 15 are girls, will no longer have to miss school and risk their lives to fetch water far away from their homes. The families no longer have to spend money to purchase water instead of paying their kids’ school fees.
Those of us who attend technology conferences are some of the most well-paid and financially secure people in the world. We can certainly afford to buy our own t-shits, and spare the landfills the other “swag” routinely given out for free at conferences.
So the next time you register for a tech conference, ask the organizers to donate the money they would otherwise use for t-shirts to a worthy cause. If you’re organizing a conference, give your attendees the option to donate part of their registration fee to charity. In a small way, the world will be a better place.
Here's the full report on the devopsdays NYC well.