Scott Harrison left his childhood home when he was 18 years old to study at the New York University. He graduated with a degree in communications and started working as a promoter in the Manhattan club, fashion and party scene. Harrison became known for his skills as promoter and expert event organiser. For nearly ten years he arranged some of the most extravagant parties and fashion events for high-profile clients like Bacardi, Elle Magazine, MTV and VH1.
Philanthropy and Sponsorship
After working as a promoter in the Manhattan party scene for almost a decade Scott Harrison had what he called a ‘crisis of conscience’ when he went on holiday. Before this happened Harrison was living an unrestrained lifestyle in which he was chasing after models and taking illegal drugs like ecstasy and cocaine. During a holiday in South America in Uruguay Harrison felt that he had an epiphany and his conscience started troubling him about the line of work he was in. He felt that he was selling decadence and selfish behaviour to people and that this was wrong.
Time for change
Shortly after his return Harrison resigned from his job and started doing volunteer work for a Christian charitable organisation called Mercy Ships. The charity is behind a fleet of ships that act as hospitals and provide healthcare free of charge to people in need. Surgeons and doctors from all over the world leave their comfortable lives and offer their services to the needy free of charge. He served on one the ‘mercy ships’ names Anastasis for 13 months along the coast of West Africa. During this time Harrison took more than 60,000 photos. He also received word that his mother was miraculously cured of an incurable condition in which her immune system was entirely destroyed.
A lifestyle overhaul
During the two years Harrison spent on-board the mercy ship Anastasis, he experienced the harsh living conditions that the poverty stricken Liberians faced every day. He spent time in a leper colony and saw human suffering he had previously thought unimaginable. By taking photos, Harrison documented the poverty and distress of the Africans he came across. He learned that people there could live for a year on less than what he would spend on a bottle of his favourite alcohol in one night. He also learned that people living in these conditions had inconceivable courage in the face of adversity and this inspired him to devote his life to making a difference to the lives of Africans.
In 2006 on the night he turned 31 Harrison founded charity: water. Instead of presents, he asked his friends for US$20 each to attend his party. He raised US$15,000 that night and with the money he fixed three wells and built three more at a refugee camp in Uganda. The charity is a non-profit organisation with the goal of bringing clean and safe water to people in developing nations in Africa. All donations go directly to funding water projects.