This is a guest blog post by Sophie and Chris Federspiel, members of Watsi's Universal Fund community. Sophie is a humanitarian worker, art enthusiast, and founder of My Petite Gallery. Chris is the Founder & CEO of Blackthorn, an avid cyclist, and peanut butter connoisseur.
At the food store, you return the shopping cart to the cart area in the parking lot. When you’re sick, you stay home or wear a mask to prevent others from getting sick. These are common civic duties. The same concept should extend to aiding other people when life presents you with excess money, as buying more things doesn’t yield mental peace.
Watsi.org’s charter is a concept we believe anyone can get behind. The thesis is to help those in need in countries where medical assistance is limited and patients have little funds. The organization is not religious, biased towards any country, or favoring gender or age, or ethnicity. They aim to mend ailments, originating from birth, later-developing genetics, or accidents.
"I take my health for granted. I have a fully functioning body, with two legs that walk, a face without defects, and all of my limbs. I have extra money, so why not give this gift to others? I’ve found Watsi’s expense ratio to be low, providing their thesis with maximum benefit instead of employee salaries and marketing costs. My company, Blackthorn, gives $3,000 per month to watsi.org, even though we’re not yet profitable. My staff works from home on computers, which is arguably the most leisurely job type one can have. It’s our duty to help those who don’t have full health or this form of leisure."
"When I first met Chris amidst the COVID pandemic, he was already supporting Watsi, while his company was also backing other projects like carbon capture. As a UN staff member with over 15 years of humanitarian experience across various countries, his generosity deeply resonated with me, earning him a second date!"
Together, we harbor a strong belief in giving back. We count ourselves fortunate to enjoy good health and have the financial capacity to help others.
For our wedding, we decided to set up a Watsi campaign. It was remarkably easy, and our friends and family enthusiastically contributed, helping us raise over $6,000, which was able to help 17 patients across Burma, Haiti, Cambodia, Uganda, Thailand, and the Philippines. This experience has inspired us to use future celebratory occasions as opportunities to launch more campaigns.
"When I left the UN in January 2023, I was certain I wanted to continue contributing and being a part of this incredible network of local contributors vigorously working to make a difference for the most vulnerable communities. Supporting Watsi seemed like a natural progression, compelling me to become a Universal Fund donor.
Earlier this year, as I embarked on a new journey, starting my own online art gallery (My Petite Gallery), I had a clear objective of leveraging it to fundraise for the charities and causes that I support. Healthcare accessibility is one such cause. After spending several years in different parts of the world, including Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Yemen, and the Central African Republic, I have firsthand experience of the challenges individuals face in accessing healthcare. Remarkably, I've also witnessed the immense strength and resilience of medical staff, working tirelessly amidst Ebola and cholera outbreaks, often with minimal or no access to necessary supplies, doing their utmost to protect lives and support patients.
I am so proud to know that My Petite Gallery is contributing to Watsi's endeavors. I feel an even deeper sense of gratification to co-sponsor an art show "Art for Humanity: Hope & Resilience" in NYC this upcoming September, with part of the proceeds going directly to support Watsi and its partner organizations."
Each year World Humanitarian Day serves as a reminder that compassion knows no borders, and it is within our capacity to be part of the change we wish to see. Our involvement with Watsi.org is a step in that direction. Just as we celebrate our own milestones, we can also use them as opportunities to ignite hope, drive change, and make the world a better place for all.
We hope you'll join in too,
Sophie and Chris Federspiel
The Watsi Team
Everyone deserves healthcare.