The statistics are so overwhelming you start to think, what can I do? 1.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and nearly 2.5 million people die each year due to waterborne-related disease (90% of which are children under the age of 5). From ThirstRelief.org. Thankfully there are organizations like Thirst Relief International whose mission is to overcome death and disease resulting from the consumption of contaminated water by providing safe, clean drinking water to those in need around the world. One of the ways they raise the funds to help each year is with their Mentor Auction. Industry leaders donate their time and often their products to be auctioned off. This year Kevin participated and we wanted to find out a little more about the person who won the auction and would be getting 90 minutes with Kevin to ask anything he'd like. Vijay Rakhra is a wedding photographer from the San Francisco Bay area. During college Vijay went to Africa and studied drumming in Ghana. During his senior year in Ghana studying abroad he made films about drumming and dancing. After college Vijay started freelancing and someone asked him to shoot a wedding. Instead of abandoning his first love which was video, he started incorporating both into his business. In recent years his company renamed Wedding Documentary has become well know for covering Indian weddings in both still and motion formats.
After making two more trips to West Africa and learning to play drums from the masters, Vijay began making documentaries showcasing the talented drummers, which helped raise money in the villages when students would travel there to learn. The sale of the DVD's is also helping to raise funds and several of the musicians have been able to move to the US to teach and can then support their villages back home. So Vijay said when he saw the Thirst Relief Auction he decided it was a worthy cause to support. He chose Kevin because, "I admire his business and speaking skills. He is a great presenter and has a lot of experience. I also wanted to get the actions, as well as some of the other goodies, but at the end of it all, I just wanted some money to go back to Africa because the people, the music, and the culture, has changed my life. My experiences there, make me who I am and I appreciate life more because of it. I hope that in the future even more photographers try to do what they can to give back to their communities whether they are abroad or here in the states and that we never forget Africa!" For more information on Thirst Relief International you can visit them online at ThirstRelief.org.