It’s almost time for the 1%EVENT! This event brings people from all over the world together for one day in which they share their time and expertise. At the event there will be some world famous social entrepreneurs that want to tell you their story.
This blog is about Tiina Urm; Tiina is a coremember of the international team from the Let’s Do It! team. We are very happy – and proud – that Tiina is coming to Amsterdam for the 1%EVENT. And this is her story..
“I studied and worked in PR for some years, but after a while I started to feel more and more unhappy and empty. So I quit my job and went on a long journey which took me to Australia and South-East Asia. I was 1.5 years away from home, friends and everything that had surrounded me till then. And then in 2007, I returned home.”
“At the end of my journey I remember sitting on top of a hill on PhiPhi island, watching the sunset. And just being filled with all the beauty around me. I just felt so grateful for being able to experience and see all those places and those people I had met during my journey. And I understood that I want to be part of this world in the best way I can be.”
At this point, Tiina was invited by a friend to attend a meeting that would change her life and the future of Estland. It was about the growing problem of massive illegal dumping and the lack of responsibility for cleaning it all up. Four friends had sat together some days before and one simple idea had emerged – to clean up all the garbage together in only one day. This crazy concept started to spread from friend to friend, just in a matter of days. She was attending one of the first meetings and was instantly attracted.
“What really appealed to me was the fact that this wasn’t just about taking care of the garbage, but going into the heart of the problem – by raising the issue in public and engaging as many people as possible, into direct action, a shift of awareness in the society could be achieved.” And all in ONE DAY.
I asked Tiina what the reason was to act: “This issue had been placed into the hands of the government, but we realized it shouldn’t be, it couldn’t be. A country is a home for all the people living there. Unless they all started to care about it, nothing would change.”
So they took matters in their own hand and acted. The project was a huge success! Over 50.000 Estonians helped in cleaning up the whole country in that single day. But what were the key ingredients to achieve this kind of result, I asked Tiina: “First key was definitely that we boldly and blankly pointed out the problem which people had become custom to overlook. We organized events all over the country to get people involved actively, mapping the garbage in the local area. To make it personal. To make it real. Not just reading it from the newspaper.” “Second key was that we proposed a simple solution, where everyone could personally participate. One day to clean it all up.”
Is Tiina expecting the project to become the greatest campaign in Estonian history?: “It became bigger and more powerful than we dared to dream at the beginning. In the sense of the amount of people this action attracted in Estonia and later in the other countries, but also in the sense of the co-operation achieved in the country. All the organizations from public, private and NGO sector, as well as individual people working together, rivals, different generations, etc… all working together.”
Not only was this project a success but it was also a great learning experience for everyone involved in the project. I asked her what hers was: “I’ve gained enormously. Firstly I was amazed and stunned by how beautiful people are. How much compassion and power lies in each of us. It seems to be sleeping during our ‘normal’ days. But it’s all there, all the time. And we can do amazing things with all this.”
Getting curious about Let’s Do It? Check out this video:
YOU decide what’s next!