In recent years I have found myself in awe of others and how they have contributed to society with their time, money and creative efforts. 2013 was a year of many major events and disasters – like every other year of my life to date. So this blog post is a tribute to those amazing people who have done awe inspiring things during a year of natural disasters, war, poverty and hardship.

Casey Neistat

When asked by 20th Century fox to make a promotional video for the movie “The Secret life of Walter Mitty” on doing something inspirational in life he instead convinced them to let him use that budget to go to the Philippines and distribute disaster aid for the survivors of typhoon Haiyan. Very creative, truly inspirational and a beautiful journey, I can see why his father cried when he watched this video.

http://digg.com/video/this-man-was-hired-to-make-an-ad-for-a-blockbuster-instead-he-spent-it-all-on-disaster-relief

Footnote: Have to also give credit to big business for their massive support as well, for example Coca Cola for their decision to divert their advertising budget in the Phillipines towards Typhoon relief http://ph.news.yahoo.com/why-you-won-t-be-seeing-coca-cola-ads-for-a-while-103232831.html

Zach Sobiech

Inspiring on a different scale I didn’t discover Zach’s story until after his death soon after his 18th birthday earlier in 2013. A teenager diagnosed with a rare form of cancer went forth and lived his last few years positively, recording a song “Clouds” which went viral on Youtube, through which his story reaching millions of viewers and reminding everyone to live everyday as if it was their last.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NjKgV65fpo 

TedGlobal 2013

Ideas worth Sharing. Ted.com has become a mainstream part of life with motivating, inspirational, change worthy speakers from all walks of life recorded at a range of events and shared via this website. TedGlobal 2013’s highlights included the following two very strong and inventive women:

Manal al-Sharif who is fighting for women’s rights including the right to drive in Saudi Arabia, this is the story of her arrest for driving, which isn’t actually illegal, rather for in-sighting women to drive! and why she is fighting for women’s rights:  http://www.ted.com/talks/manal_al_sharif_a_saudi_woman_who_dared_to_drive.html

The BRCK – “out of adversity can come innovation” Juliana Rotich describes the invention of the BRCK a modem developed through CrowdFunding (on kickstarter) to enable connectivity to persist via any available network in the face of frequent power and internet blackouts in challenging African nations. Brilliant invention that could serve to not only keep citizens informed but encourage the ability for remote working. http://www.ted.com/talks/juliana_rotich_meet_brck_internet_access_built_for_africa.html

Didar Hossain

We all watched in awe earlier in the year when a garment factory building collapsed in Bangladesh. Shocking images, shocking statistics about the conditions of the factories themselves and pay received by workers emerged alongside amazing stories of heroism and brave rescues – from other workers and citizens. One I was quite taken by was a man who saved 30+ people going in and out of the rubble including amputating the hand of a girl to save her life – a situation I cannot even begin to imagine, how would you mentally approach such a challenge?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22384529

Nelson Mandela

It was in 1984 via a very catchy tune “Free Nelson Mandela” that I learned about this amazing man and his story. Then in 1988 not far from my flat one of the most coalescing music events of my lifetime was held at Wembley Stadium. A politically charged celebration of Mandela’s 70th birthday, 2 years before his release from 27 years in prison, certainly honed my attention on Mandela’s life and plight. Since his release in 1990 we have all watched in awe the achievements of his remaining life and the impact he has made on not only his native South Africa but the world. I couldn’t list awe inspiring people in 2013 without including Mandela and his passing at age 95.  One of my favourite Mandela quotes: “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Rest in peace.

This is a great wee 60 minute BBC piece on the impact he has had on the world http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YTikApRTko

nelsonmandela