We view ‘help’ in the lens of solidarity, rather than charity. We hold a deep moral belief in the equal worth of all people and in our shared bonds of humanity. We acknowledge that no one lives a healthy, dignified, fulfilling life without help. At a systemic level, some of us have had more help than others. We envision a system in which each person receives the help he needs so that he can give help in turn.
We are continuously inspired by the optimism of our partners in the face of suffering day after day. How better to serve our purpose than to emulate this optimism in every aspect of our work. To be optimistic is to have fortitude. We are committed to our mission for the long haul.
THE HISTORY OF H4O
Programme to build private household toilets in a sustainable, replicable manner. Knowing that his work in Madagascar would not end with his dissertation, Edoardo founded Help for Optimism- ONLUS on the 4th of July of 2014. Our first project was to implement Edoardo’s Sanitation Programme in the village of Antintorona, in the Diana region of Madagascar. This was carried out as a collaboration between H40 and a well-established nonprofit, We Work It Works www.weworkitworks.org. We have benefitted greatly from the shared knowledge and expertise provided by Stefano Palazzi throughout this collaboration.
The inspiration for Help for Optimism – ONLUS was born when Edoardo Bono first travelled to Madagascar on a family holiday in 2011. He was awed by the country’s stunning scenery and biodiversity but his most lasting impressions were of the smiling faces of the Malagasy people. Edoardo was drawn to return and on subsequent visits, he was welcomed into the local community, where he learned to speak the Sakalava Malagasy dialect. It was then that he began to recognize the myriad of hardships faced by his friends with such grace. Asking for a bathroom, he was directed towards the forest or the beach. After a taste of life without basic sanitation, Edoardo decided to commit himself to the cause. He developed his dissertation at the Politecnico di Torino, where he designed a Sanitation
From our founding, we have understood that the ultimate strength and longevity of H40 depends on intimate knowledge of community needs and social dynamics – knowledge that can only be known firsthand. In 2015, we welcomed Warda Minazara as the leader of Madagascar operations in the field. Drawing on the lived experiences of our friends and partners, we know that multifaceted problems require comprehensive solutions. Thus, Help for Optimism employs a global approach to development projects. From design to implementation, we seek input from all stakeholders and are responsive to all possible outcomes. We draw on expertise both on the ground and through professional partnerships in Italy, the UK, and the US. We aim to guarantee health, dignity, and wellbeing by empowering communities to partake in a sustainable path forward.