Matt Damon has poured his heart out about his travels to the poorest parts of the world in a new essay for U.S. magazine Parade.
The actor turned journalist to pen a travelogue for the free publication, which will hit the streets in many national publications this weekend (10-11Oct09).
In his essay, The Bourne Supremacy star admits he was inspired to give to charity as a child, and would save up his allowance and hand it over to causes he felt passionate about.
He writes, "My mother was involved in all sorts of causes and when I was about 12, I started sending a little bit every month to one of them. I learned then that you find something that matters to you and it changes your whole mindset."
And his passion for giving led him to his latest cause - finding clean water for the Third World's kids.
Damon admits he has been deeply moved by the efforts of volunteers and aid workers in Africa as they fight to save children, like his own, from dying.
He adds, "Every 15 seconds, a child dies because of a lack of clean water and sanitation... A billion people on our planet will never have a clean drink of water."
He also recalls meeting those struggling to survive in Haiti, Africa and India, and confesses he struggles to comprehend how some areas of the world are so poor while Americans take water and sanitation for granted.
Damon explains, "You can read about extreme poverty and possible solutions, but it's really powerful when you get to meet the people and shake their hands and listen to their stories.
"I was in Ethiopia earlier this year, and I watched children taking filthy water out of a hand-dug well and putting it in bottles to take to school. The water was so dirty, it looked like chocolate milk.
"I wanted to knock it out of their hands and say, 'Don't drink that - it could kill you.' The dilemma is that drinking nothing at all will kill them faster."
Damon's essay in Parade launches the publication's America's Giving Challenge, which aims to increase charity donations for international causes.