The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
interview: inspired blogger, Shawn from uncultured

I’m always in awe of great bloggers because they’re such a delight to discover.

As befits social media, I actually met Shawn on twitter while I was in Bangladesh. He is the blogger behind uncultured. He represents a new generation of campaigners; independent, influential and digitally connected which means he sends messages across the globe which in turn effect change.

While I was in Dhaka, I was blogging round the clock and noticed that my brother had posted one Shawn’s stories as a link on my facebook wall – I was intrigued and very moved by his story, not only because I was in the country as a guest of Save the Children, but also because he has a unique and brilliant involvement with Bangladesh.

I’ve had various social conversations with Shawn since I returned and I’ve been desperate to write about his work because I am full of admiration and amazed that someone so young has managed to achieve so much.

Here’s his own story in his own words…

I guess I can start with a brief summary of who I am and my work. I’m a 29 year old born in Canada. My parents are both from Bangladesh and left Bangladesh after their negative experiences of the “War of Liberation” – which turned East Pakistan to Bangladesh.

One of my grandfathers was a paraplegic and, as such, the only way to see him is if we went to Bangladesh. So, whenever my parents could afford it, we would make trips to Bangladesh. I was exposed to the poverty there first hand at a very early age.

My father went to a school that was started by a Catholic mission there. He used to tell me stories of how, when he was a kid and got intestinal worms, the only treatment that was accessible to him was to go to a local equivalent of a religious “Shaman” who prayed them away.

That maybe why Save the Children is something I’m so passionate about. That and the fact that, among locals, Save the Children’s reputation is second to none. It maybe it’s secular nature, it maybe it hires from virtually every community in Bangladesh, or it just maybe because of the good work they do.

My use of social media was a very organic process. I used to take whatever gear I could afford on my trips to Bangladesh: old film cameras at first, than a VHS camcorder in my teens, and then digital cameras, and (when starting this project) mobile internet and digital filming. Social media just seemed the best way to share my stories.

Since then my work has grown to become the most subscribed channel dedicated to the issue of global poverty on YouTube. It has over 50,000 subscribers (that’s more than five fold the ONE Campaign and is more subscribers than every international development charity put together). It also got a Webby Honoree in 2009 for outstanding work in experimental online film.

Shawn has done some truly inspirational work and here is one of his latest trips with Save the Children. There are a few familiar faces in the video and I am glad to see that people continue to visit Bangladesh and tell the story through social media; it’s literally a life changing experience.

What’s important about bloggers like Shawn is that he represents a whole new category of influence and awareness – we can all learn a lot from people like him.

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2 Comments to “interview: inspired blogger, Shawn from uncultured”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nixdminx eva keogan, Handpicked Media. Handpicked Media said: RT @nixdminx: New interview: One of the most influential individuals in independent NGO focused social media Uncultured [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nixdminx eva keogan, Essi Lindstedt and SavetheChildren News, Liz Scarff. Liz Scarff said: RT @nixdminx: new blog post: Interview with inspired blogger Shawn from uncultured #blogladesh [...]

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