The Source, by Charity: Water

1 in 10 people lack access to clean water. Charity: Water is a nonprofit organization that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Since their inception, they’ve funded 24,537 water projects for 7 million people around the world. Their documentary ‘The Source’ accounts the life of 13-year-old Selam of Ethiopia who spends every day trying to balance retrieving water for her family and attending school.

The intended audience were the donors, foundations and sponsors that cover the operating costs of the entire company. This ensures that 100% of public donations are used towards the water projects themselves.

The story used a ton of emotional appeal. Selam is a 13-year-old who has to help her family survive. Her mother died when she was 12, she has two siblings to take care of, and she also must attend school with the hopes of a brighter future. A future where her younger siblings do not have to decide between survival and school. The story documents the dirty, leach infested pond where she has no choice but to fetch water. The turning point is when they are provided with clean water and a well that is so close she can see it from her house. She no longer has to be late or miss school, her time is now her own. She can study to be a nurse.

The story was largely driven by her and her experiences. Like many other young girls in third world countries, her family’s survival is top priority. It was a unique point of view that included a beginning, middle and end. In the beginning, she was forced to fetch dirty water, in the middle her father informed her of a team coming to provide access to water (although they have been told the same thing many times before), in the end they got the water, and she is receiving the education she so desperately needs.

This story was appropriate for VR and I think especially important for the donors and future donors to this organization. Documentaries do well in VR because we know very little about the surroundings and actual experiences in third world countries.

As I was watching there were a few minor things that bothered me within the story, and with VR as a whole. Within the story, I felt like I wanted different angles. I wanted the angles to be more largely from the eyes of Selam. However, I also felt like there were sometimes obstacles in the way of the camera. As for VR, the medium, I would like there to be more of a walking effect. Instead of spinning in circles to look at everything, I want to have that feeling as I walk. If that makes any sense at all.