The project began in 1989, when I visited India for the first time. I began thinking about going there to help people in 1956 when I was 7 years old, influenced by my father, Albert Gold (Benefit Magazine 100 Friends story, September 2007).
When I finally got to India, I met a Tibetan woman in the Himalayas who had terrible ear infections, and I was able save her life with antibiotics that cost about $1. For another $30 I purchased a hearing aid that restored her hearing. I was shocked to learn that something so important could be accomplished with so little. I also briefly met Mother Teresa while doing volunteer work with the dying in Kolkata, India and she encouraged me to continue this type of humanitarian work.
I began raising money among my friends (100 of them, exactly!) – as little as $1 or more. Then, in 1992, I traveled to India with over $2,200 in donations, with the goal of distributing it as directly and appropriately as possible. The rest, as they say, is history.
Funds have been donated in India, Thailand, Cambodia, Tibet, Nepal, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Indonesia, Palestinian Territories, Iraq, The Philippines, Myanmar, Pakistan, China, Angola, Laos, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uganda, Mozambique and Turkey.