Damon, co-founder of a global water charity, hails the way Akshay has spotlighted open defecation
Hollywood star Matt Damon and Bollywood star Akshay Kumar have something in common — apart from their global fan following. Akshay’s recent hit, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha deals with open defecation in India, an issue that Damon’s non-profit organisation, Water.org, has been addressing for years now.
In an exclusive chat with us, Damon says he’s delighted that Akshay decided to highlight this issue in a film. “It’s great to have stars like Akshay and films like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha spotlighting the open defecation crisis, as it helps to drive more awareness of not only the issues but also what can be done to create change. Our organisation, Water.org, is dedicated to ending open defecation globally.”
Damon continues, “I have seen first-hand the devastating effects on health, the threat to women and children, and the contamination of safe drinking water from open defecation. It’s clear to me that a person cannot thrive and reach their full potential without first having access to safe water to drink, and the dignity of a sanitary toilet.”
The actor last visited India in 2013 to monitor the Water. org projects here. At that time, he was apparently fascinated by the massive influence of Indian movie stars, and he enjoyed the spicy Indian food, too. But what he remembers most clearly is his interaction with people, and he’s looking forward to coming back.
“The people in the cities and villages of India were gracious and welcoming,” says Damon. “Meeting with people in Chennai, Mumbai, and Bangalore, I listened to them tell me [about] their wish to have toilets.” He also met those who were helped by Water.org with building their own toilets. “[They] were very proud to show them to us,” says Damon. “This is what sticks out for me… people want their own bathrooms; to feel safe, clean, and to have their privacy protected. While I do not have a date for my next trip, I am looking forward to visiting India again soon.”
A person cannot reach their full potential without... the dignity of a sanitary toilet MATT DAMON, ACTOR