SEATTLE, Washington — Water scarcity continues to be a widespread and life-threatening issue across developing countries. The need for safe, accessible water in impoverished communities has caught the eye of nonprofit organizations and generous celebrities alike. An example of this is notable gamer Craig Thompson’s work with Thirst Project.
Young, ambitious college students founded Thirst Project in 2008. It is dedicated to educating American youth about the global water crisis in order to gain the support to build freshwater wells in developing communities. What started as a one-time event to raise awareness and money for the cause has blossomed into an influential NGO.
Thirst Project has collected more than $8 million in donations and helped nearly 300,000 people gain access to safe, clean water. Founder Seth Maxwell and his partners visit schools across the United States to present the facts about the global water crisis and engage students about the cause.
Craig Thompson and YouTube
Craig Thompson, who frequently goes by the online moniker Mini Ladd, is a successful YouTuber. Videos on YouTube have the potential to reach hundreds of millions of viewers. Furthermore, YouTube’s social aspect allows creators to amass millions of subscribers, creating a virtual community that spans the globe. Creators can also profit off of advertising revenue, merchandise sales and donations from subscribers. This has transformed what was once merely a hobby to a multi-million dollar career for select YouTubers.
Of Irish descent, Thompson immigrated to the United States in 2017 after his career as a gaming streamer took off. Thompson’s YouTube channel currently boasts more than five and a half million subscribers. His massive amount of influence is what has put him in a prime position to make a lasting impact on humanitarian issues both nationally and internationally.
Recognizing his potential, Thompson organized the second major charity stream of his career, promising to dedicate the proceeds to Thirst Project. In just one weekend in May 2018, Thompson broadcast two Livestream sessions where viewers could make donations while watching him play games. The donations from the combined streams came out to more than $70,000. The advertisement revenue and Thompson’s personal $12,000 donation upped the total to nearly $95,000 for Thirst Project.
Craig Thompson’s and Thirst Project
Thompson’s work with Thirst Project inspired him to visit some of the communities that benefitted from the donations raised by his charity stream. In November 2018, Thompson flew to Africa to contribute to Thirst Project’s mission of providing access to clean water to developing communities. For more than two weeks, Thompson’s work with Thirst Project took him to multiple nations in Africa where the water crisis hit hardest.
During his trip, he built wells while connecting with members of the communities. Thompson posted photographs documenting his involvement on his Facebook page. He included commentary like “Nothing beats building a well & after a few days, seeing it produce fresh water for these community members! Seeing their face light up with joy is priceless.”
Encouraged by his success in 2018, Thompson organized another charity stream in April 2019. He was able to raise $42,000 in fewer than five hours. Thirst Project statistics show that the installation of a freshwater well in a developing community can reduce the rate of disease by 88 percent overnight. A single well can save the lives of countless people and children. In addition, access to clean drinking water via a freshwater well can lead to almost a 90 percent drop in child mortality rates in just 24 hours.
Craig Thompson’s work with Thirst Project demonstrates how impactful creators, gamers and online streamers can be when they rally the support of their communities. Their influence, coupled with the power of the Internet, allows thousands of people to support vital humanitarian efforts around the globe just by tuning in. On that scale, even $1 from every viewer has the potential to change the world.
– Emmitt Kussrow