Wildling’s #wildfeetures design competition has been running at full tilt for two weeks, and many unique designs for completely new Wildlings have already reached the fox’s den. For now we're keeping the beautiful, original and wildly inspiring ideas under our hats. Instead, we’d like to introduce you today to one of our inspiring jury members: Benjamin Adrion, founder of Viva con Agua and former football player at Hamburg club FC St. Pauli.
We asked Benny what drives him. How did Viva con Agua come into being, and what are his goals with this project?
The former football player’s wish is clear: “I want everyone on the planet to have access to clean drinking water!”
Working with people to change the world in a positive and successful way - that’s what motivates Benny and the many people who are working in paid and voluntary roles to improve the supply of drinking water.
From football pro to philanthropist
If you ask Benny Adrion how his team would describe him in only three words, he says: “No idea - you'd have to ask the team that.”
So we did, and got the following answers: “charismatic, captivating, down-to-earth.”
You’d have to be to turn your back on professional football in order to create such an active and influential organisation that achieves change.
Photo: Pascal Bünning
The beginning of Viva con Agua
But how did he get the idea to create an organisation like Viva con Agua, whose partner in most projects is the charity Welthungerhilfe?
“I was a professional footballer. I got the idea for Viva con Agua when I was at a training camp in Cuba with FC St. Pauli and became aware of how bad the drinking water supply was for the people there. Back in Germany, I decided, with a group of people, to do something about it.”
What makes Viva con Agua so special is that the images and campaigns never aim to create sympathy. Benny emphasises that social commitment is fun, and that all participants can get something out of it.
“That's why we're the world’s first ALL-PROFIT organisation. We use the universal languages of music, art and sport to mobilise people to work for clean drinking water and to collect donations.”
Viva con Agua has a very large network. 15,000 voluntary supporters throughout the world are now registered with Viva con Agua to take action for clean water. The goal is to change the world and society through positive activism and to ensure that no one has to be thirsty.
Viva con Agua collects money and invests it with Welthungerhilfe and other project partners in carefully selected local projects. As a result, three million people in many countries in Africa, Asia and Central America have gained access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities. The projects are supported by hygiene training, so that their effects are sustainable.
Photo: Stefan Groenveld
Letting go and daring to try something new
“For me, creativity means finding solutions by letting go of old concepts and following new paths.”
In Benny’s eyes, a project is sustainable if it doesn't just serve to maximise profits, but provides added value in an ecological and/or social sense. If it’s based on real motivation.
Of course products are also allowed to look and feel good, but to Benny, the way they’re produced and the business model behind them are almost more important.
So Team Wildling is delighted that he - with his openness and enthusiastic manner - is supporting #wildfeetures as a jury member. Many thanks, Benny!
Run wild! Anna, Ran & Team Wildling
Wildling features you! Design your very own wild shoe model that we’ll produce in a limited run to mark Wildling’s 5th birthday. Because more than five years ago, the idea to revolutionise the shoe sector was born, and in 2015, with the founding of our company, it took flight.
Together with you and Team Wildling, a first-class jury of creative minds and specialists will choose the winning design from the 20 wildest entries.