Thursday, 31 March 2011

Animation & Motion Graphics


Ridealist is a non-profit, volunteer initiative that aims to help grassroots NPOs get their message out to a wider audience.

This includes potential donors, and individuals who can benefit from their unique services.

We do not receive funding or donations, (though we'd like to!) and we currently bear all expenses for the projects we undertake out of our own pocket.

Because of these financial constraints, we are limited to our immediate geographic locality, which is currently Hong Kong.

However, we are also collaborating /consulting with NPOs in Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon, India, and mainland China, among other locations.

But the Internet and the skills available by generous people, means we can expand our reach.

To help groups beyond our immediate geographic location get their message across, we would like to offer them the opportunity of producing short animated videos. These can be produced anywhere.

Ridealist will coordinate with the NPO, script and do the basic story-board - volunteer animators / motion graphics experts will translate that into a 60 or 90 second video.

Obviously, full credit will be given to the animator/motion graphics person for the creation of the video.

We will do everything possible to promote and advertise the invaluable support of the individuals who make these videos possible. Beyond that, the only thing we can promise is that you will feel very good about the contribution you have made.

Right now, we have two projects that need animation (there will doubtless be more)

One is for a Uganda-based orphanage that cares for children orphaned by AIDS, and recent natural disasters. They are introducing sustainable farming and building schools for displaced kids.

The other is for a Hong Kong NPO that offers counseling for women who have lost hope: through abuse, limited employment opportunities, divorce etc.. women who need to regain faith in their value.

We'd like to expand this initiative and bring together animators / motion graphics experts who can devote a little of their free time to volunteer work.

We'd also like photographers and video-cameramen to come on board too... then we can really make this global, and something we could all feel proud of.

But first things first.

Let's get these first two projects completed, and see where we can go from there.

Best regards,

Chris & Shirley Gelken

















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Saturday, 19 March 2011

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness

Photo: Shirley Han Ying, Accra, Ghana, 2006

Some of the saddest words we hear from non-profits and grassroots groups, and we hear them frequently, are "we can't afford it."

We're not talking about Ridealist fees, because we don't charge any.

We're referring to the expenses of putting together a video/photography project that is outside our immediate geographic area of Hong Kong.

Recently, we have been communicating with a group in India that provides basic education and vocational skills training to young girls. They were on the "short list" for our planned in-depth documentary project in June.

Then, sadly, they informed us that after contacting their friends, sponsors and fundraisers, they simply could not come up with the cash to contribute to the expenses of bringing the Ridealist team to India to document their valuable work.

There are plenty of folks who do work similar to us who would argue, quite rightly, you simply can't afford not to afford it!

How else are you going to bring your message to a wider pool of potential donors, sponsors etc? You simply are not in the game unless people know you are there.

Slowly, painfully slowly it feels at times, we are bringing together specialists in various areas such as grant writing, website design, fundraising and so on, that we can refer people to.

These kind folks are willing to work on a volunteer basis to do what they can to help the "branding" of these non-profits, give them the opportunity to get their message out.

But as more people contact Ridealist, it is so easy to get overwhelmed.

And the words we hate to hear ourselves say is "No, sorry, we can't help you right now."

And while it breaks our heart, we're hearing ourselves say that far too frequently recently.

We've just committed ourselves to another local project that will need to be completed before (if) we leave for our June volunteer project. This on top of no less than four others we are currently engaged in!

The motto of one of our existing clients is: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of your honesty, your courage, and your strength.

We need more help.

We need grant writers, graphic artists, website development experts, fundraisers, and last but not least, people willing to sponsor some very worthwhile projects.

While Ridealist could certainly use all of the above, we're not asking for ourselves.

If you can volunteer even a little of your time in any of the above specialities, we will connect you with groups that can use your expertise.

Thanks,

Chris & Shirley

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Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Barefoot Billionaire Campaign

We'd like to thank the many NGOs and NPOs from around the world that have contacted us regarding our project to spend two weeks in June volunteering our services as videographers/photographers.

We've had enquiries from India, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya and China. Each and every one, a very deserving and worthwhile candidate.

One group has indicated they may be able to come up with some funding, others have had to admit that the cost is just way beyond their means. No shame in that at all, it is beyond our means too!

"Funding" and "stumbling block" are words that frequently appear together when we are talking about grassroots NGO/NPOs!

We are busy networking, sending off emails, making calls.. posting here, on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

With persistence we'll get there, and hopefully we'll reach all of those wonderful grassroots non-profits who give up so much of their personal lives - and in many cases their meagre savings - to do their bit to making this a cleaner, greener, more peaceful and more caring world for everyone.

For every well-known and well funded NGO that is always in the news with some glamourous Hollywood star fronting as their goodwill ambassador, there are literally thousands, tens of thousands of NGOs and grassroots groups who are barely making ends meet - and frequently not making ends meet - while still doing amazing work.

Most of you know that my day job is as a television news anchor/editor and producer. One of the stories on our news broadcast at TVB tonight was the Forbes list of the world's latest billionaires.

Staggering, staggering amounts of money. Breathtaking wealth. Numbers that are impossible to comprehend.

But knowing a little about the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous through Hollywood movies, magazines, TMZ, the various scandals they get themselves into, and so on, it got me thinking about the difference between THEM and US and how to put it into a narrative or framework that might be slightly more comprehensible.

We all know shoes. We all need to wear them.

Take these for example.

A pair of Christian Louboutin, Sexy Strass 100 Swarovski crystal peep-toe pumps would set you back 2,700 U.S. dollars.. or the equivalent of an economy class airfare for Shirley and I to visit Uganda. With the 1,000 dollars we've already pledged to throw into the mix, I figure at a pinch we might be able to get the project done on that budget.

If someone would consider foregoing their next pair of Jimmy Choo, Vienna multi-strap wedge sandals, a bit of a bargain at 940 U.S. dollars, we might even be able to take along some farming tools and perhaps even buy half a dozen goats too.

So, this got me to thinking.

Maybe we should initiate a "Barefoot Billionaire" campaign... give up their next pair of shoes for charity!

Find some billionaires willing to be photographed "sans footware" - and they donate what they would have paid for their next pair of shoes direct to grassroots groups.

If we got the socks too, perhaps we could fly business class!

Okay, maybe not. I'm sure we could find someone who would trade those socks into high-energy meals, rehydration kits, or mosquito nets.


P.S:
The 2011 Billionaires List breaks two records: total number of listees (1,210) and combined wealth ($4.5 trillion).
So if just 10 percent participated, we could reach a deserving group in 121 countries around the world.

And with 35 of these billionaires living in Hong Kong, we would not have to go far to take the pictures!




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Monday, 7 March 2011

Ridealist seeking partners for volunteer project

A few days ago Ridealist released a notice through various online media to announce our plan to donate US$1,000 toward the costs of producing a video/media package for a deserving non-profit or grassroots organisation.


Ridealist is a non-profit volunteer initiative that aims to tell compelling stories of people and organisations making a positive difference in their communities. We do this in our spare time, at weekends, evenings etc.


We believe that by showcasing the goodness of others, we can inspire and help organisations attract funding and volunteers, and visually demonstrate the impact their good work is having on the community.


But this year, together with US$1,000 toward expenses, we are donating our two-week annual summer vacation (in June) to work on a project(s) in any location outside Hong Kong where we can offer our skills to help raise the profile of a non-profit or grassroots organisation working with the environment, children, animals, the elderly, the disadvantaged - or any combination of the foregoing since they are often inextricably linked together.


We plan to spend up to two weeks with the selected NGO/NPO and aim to produce a short - perhaps two minute promotional / introduction video that can be embedded directly on the NGO/NPOs website front page. This can help "brand" your NGO/NPO and can be used for short presentations at fund raisers etc.


We will also produce a longer - up to 22 minutes - video documentary, looking at the NGO/NPO and their work in more depth.


These stories can be shared with television stations/networks and non-profit video sharing websites such as DoGooder TV, About GoodnessTV etc.. gaining extensive exposure for the NGO/NPO.


We'll also be taking scores of high quality still pictures.


But among the frequently asked questions put by NPO/NGOs are:


"How do we get involved?"


If you are connected to, or operate a charity, NPO or grassroots organisation that might benefit from having their activities documented for a promotional/fundraising/informational/training video, then get in touch, tell us what you do and we'll see how things go!


"What can you do for us?"


Rather than asking us what we can do for you, tell us what you would like us to do for you. Imagine you now have a camera crew. What would you like us to create that will reflect your work and the benefits you are bringing to the community? What is your core message? What message do you want to send to potential donors, sponsors?


"Where will the funding come from?"


Ridealist normally works within a small geographic area, for good reason.


We are completely self funded, no sponsorship or donations, and our work is done on a volunteer - no charge basis, so consequently we have to try and keep our costs to an absolute minimum.


Therefore, the groups we have previously worked with usually have to be within a bus or subway ride away from our home base.


But having said all that, we are keen to expand our horizons and our geographical reach.


And since we have full-time jobs too, we do almost all of the filming at weekends, and editing during our spare time during the week.


But this year we would like to create an opportunity to immerse ourselves in a story without distractions.


But this does lead us to the issue of costs.


For example: The roundtrip airfare from Hong Kong to Beijing is around US$900 to 1,000 each, to Chengdu it is UD$800 each, Entebbe in Uganda, is US$1,200 each, to Nairobi in Kenya is just over US$1,100 each.


To be frank, this is beyond our means. Our project budget of US$1,000 won’t go very far with prices like this. And then of course there is accommodation, food, local transport etc. to take into consideration.


So we are looking for partners who can help fulfill this ambition to spread Ridealist’s wings.


Could you be that partner?


Sincerely yours,


Chris & Shirley Gelken


Here's what people have been saying about Ridealist:


"Ridealist developed a video for my charity organization, Hands On Hong Kong, in 2010. It is an excellent piece of work in terms of both quality and content. It accurately captures what our organization is all about -- something that is not easy to do in just a few minutes. I'm very appreciative of the work Ridealist has done for Hands On. It's incredibly valuable for us to have this video to share with the community, including our supporters, volunteers, and current and potential sponsors.” March 1, 2011

Shaun Bernier, Hands on Hong Kong


"Chris Gelken and Shirley Han Gelken were instrumental in helping the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) promote its non-profit animal welfare and shelter management programs in the PRC. Through Ridealist, Chris and Shirley created two pro-bono short films for ICVS to promote its free animal welfare and shelter management seminars and the ICVS/Columbia University Alumni Association animal welfare fundraising event in 2010. Ridealist provides a unique and essential service to bring awareness of the work of small start-up or non-profit organizations that would otherwise not have the funding to hire professional videographers and short-film producers of this caliber. It is without doubt that the short-films produced by Ridealist have helped to establish ICVS’ animal welfare programs internationally and to enable us to give China a voice and to act as a bridge between China and the world in improving the health and welfare for both animals and humans.

Chris is a consummate professional and is also warm, caring and kind with a great sense of humor - a real pleasure to work with. Ridealist is a great gift that has been given to us to help change and impact the world for the better and has our highest recommendation.”
February 27, 2011

Mary Peng, ICVS Beijing



“We really enjoyed working with Chris and Shirley. They had only a few days to shoot but still managed to put together a great video for our organization.” September 7, 2010

Judy Shen, CAI



“Chris produced a video for our Charity organization "Giving Hand" for no fee. Excellent job in very short time. This video promoted a Donating project for Levi Strauss, the charity in charge, Beijing Huayu Education Foundation and Giving Hand.” April 20, 2010

Bobbi Fisher, Giving Hand, Chengdu

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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Ahmed's Story - almost two years on.

This story was first published on my blog, reproduced on the Facebook page, "Voice for Amanda Lindhout", and was also picked up and carried by a number of mainstream media outlets in Canada and Australia.


For those that need reminding. Here it is in its original and unedited form.

SATURDAY, 5 DECEMBER 2009

Ahmed's Story

After discussions with friend and colleague, Eva Manasieva, and Tom Rhodes from the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York, we agreed that there was a story that needed to be told.

The following was posted on the Facebook site "Voice for Amanda Lindhout"

As the initiators of this Facebook page, Eva Manasieva and Chris Gelken feel the time to close it and move on is drawing near.

We are deeply indebted to the people who cared enough to add their names and post their prayers and wishes for a safe and speedy return to their families of Amanda and Nigel.

While the long journey back to anything like a normal life is likely to be difficult, we are confident that Amanda and Nigel will draw some measure of comfort in the knowledge that hardly a day of their 15-month captivity went by without someone visiting this page and leaving a message of encouragement, many of them complete strangers.

But before we switch off the lights on this page; this tribute to the kindness and humanity of so many; there is one person in particular that we’d like to thank.

His name or picture doesn’t appear among the list of Amanda’s “friends” on Voice for Amanda Lindhout. He left no words of encouragement or support. What he did was so much more.

We’ll call him Ahmed.

Ahmed is a video journalist based in Mogadishu, his war-ravaged hometown. Like almost every Mogadishu resident, Ahmed effectively risks his life every time he steps out of his home. As a journalist, the dangers are so much greater – and as a family man with a wife and children to support, he is always alert to the fact that he is there to record the story, not become part of it.

But it was without a second’s hesitation that Ahmed responded to a request by one of Amanda’s friends to make enquiries into the kidnapping. This request wasn’t made by or on behalf of a news organization looking for a story. Nor was it made on behalf of any government agency.
Within 24 hours of the abduction Ahmed already had some solid leads. He shared the information with Amanda’s friend who then – with Ahmed’s permission - passed the basic facts onto the relevant authorities in Canada and Australia.

Working through intermediaries, over a period of several days Ahmed made the first substantive contact with the kidnappers, and was able to begin passing messages from the group.

Throughout this time Ahmed was running considerable risks. He was threatened, and his family was threatened. He was questioned at gunpoint. His motives and affiliations were challenged. He recalled his makeshift home being surrounded by gunmen. One of his messages read, “I have descended into an ocean of darkness.”

He managed to convince the gunmen that his only interest was in the wellbeing of the hostages. In the name of humanity he begged for their release, or at least some proof that they were being held in a safe place and were not being harmed.

His efforts ultimately resulted in the undisputed first “proof of life” telephone contact between Nigel and an Australian hostage negotiator in Nairobi. In the darkness of a Mogadishu night about two weeks after the kidnapping, Ahmed coordinated a complicated international communication that for the first time put the Canadian and Australian negotiating team in direct contact with the group holding Amanda and Nigel.

Surrounded by masked men with guns, Ahmed handed over his telephones with the contacts of the negotiating team and the electronic record of his involvement. He had already achieved more than anyone could possibly have hoped for. He was scared for his life. He wanted to go home to his wife and children. He wanted out.

But for the time being, Ahmed was trapped. The gunmen made increasingly threatening demands for payment for giving him the proof of life. The negotiating teams, meanwhile, pressured him to maintain contact. At that time, the negotiators and their masters in Ottawa and Canberra insisted, Ahmed was their only reliable link on the ground in Mogadishu. It was crucial that he remained engaged.

While they scrambled to assemble their resources, the governments of Canada and Australia made various vacuous and what can only be described as misleading statements to Ahmed. Assurances, for example, that help was on the way. The “help” they were referring to was nothing more than extra officers being sent to Nairobi. Ahmed was always on his own, and he remains so.

As the weeks turned into months, the Nairobi-based negotiating team was able to manage affairs without Ahmed’s direct involvement. So Ahmed was effectively sidelined. His usefulness at an end, he was forgotten. Discarded.

But the gunmen haven’t forgotten Ahmed.

Ahmed is not seeking financial reward, despite the fact that his involvement actually cost him at least three to four thousand US dollars in direct expenses, not to mention lost earnings.

Ahmed is not seeking fame. In fact, he has been quite explicit – no photographs and his full name should not be revealed.

So what is he seeking?

Acknowledgement.

Acknowledgement not just for himself, but for all decent Somali citizens who have maintained their humanity and morality despite the awful conditions in which they live.

For strangers, he risked his life and the livelihood of his family. For people he never met and will likely never meet, he continues to live with the knowledge that he might still be a target.

In the reams of newsprint and the hours of broadcast coverage that have been dedicated to the self aggrandizing “heroic” efforts of the commercial hostage rescue team that finally secured the release of Amanda and Nigel, there has been little or no acknowledgement of the selfless efforts made by ordinary, decent Somali citizens like Ahmed.

People touched by decades of war and hardship, but not corrupted by it.

And that is a tragedy that simply must be corrected.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

DECEMBER 2009, Mogadishu


Ahmed's Father
Still believing that Ahmed had somehow conspired with the negotiating team to either reveal their location or perhaps help negotiate a reduction in the ransom for a reward, the lawless gunmen still pursued Ahmed. Occasionally it would simply be threats, at other times there might be some physical violence, but nothing serious enough to prevent Ahmed continuing to earn a living - and possibly become a source of income for the gangs.

Then one day in December they went to his house, The men in masks and guns terrorized Ahmed's elderly father. "If you don't admit he was an agent for the foreign police, and tell us where the money is, we will kill him and you," they threatened.
Ahmed Snr. ran for his life, searching for his son to warn him. He finally collapsed from exhaustion, was taken to a makeshift hospital, and died a few hours later.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

February 2011, MOGADISHU


Ahmed's Battle for Survival Continues
A few days ago I began to get emails from Ahmed. I hadn't heard from him in several months and had assumed that his life had returned to a sort of normalcy - a normalcy that can only be measured against the situation on the ground in Mogadishu.
He wrote: Four weeks ago I was captured by Al Shabaab. They stormed my house. They destroyed parts of my house and seriously frightened my wife and children. They separated us and then started to question my wife and children.
Afterwards, they drove me to the outskirts of Mogadishu with my car and my three laptop computers.
They questioned me repeatedly why I helped Amanda and Nigel. How much money did I get from their enemies?
After two weeks I was released, but I was vomiting blood, and remain very sick.
They stole my laptops and my car, and destroyed many things in my house.
My family remain scared that they will come back.
Now I am not able to work. Still vomiting blood and I am afraid I need urgent medical assistance.
My kids are without food.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
My personal sense of guilt and shame for what has happened to this man and his family, and my role in it, is profound.
As a colleague of Amanda Lindhout, it was I who first contacted Ahmed and asked if he'd heard anything on the ground in Mogadishu about her abduction.
For the next several weeks, my apartment in Beijing became something of a second base of operations in the effort to locate Amanda and Nigel.
Frequent, almost daily visits by the RCMP and the Australian Federal Police - always pushing, always encouraging me to remind Ahmed that he was the best opportunity to find an early resolution.
Almost 24-hour vigils by the phone, waiting for news over several time zones, and then passing it on as quickly as possible to the authorities who might be able to make use of it.
I will never forget the night of the first "proof of life" phone call.
And I will also never forget what I can only describe as the callous disregard for the security of Ahmed and his family as the Australian Federal Police and the Royal Canadian Police tried to manipulate me into encouraging Ahmed into situations of increasing danger.
Their praise of Ahmed's efforts were loud and profound. Their ultimate gratitude for his efforts was pitiful and shameful.
After Amanda and Nigel's release, they refused to acknowledge him.
At one point they even tried to suggest he was in cahoots with the kidnap gang.
It isn't too late to make things right. Chris GelkenMarch 7, Hong Kong


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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Ridealist seeking volunteer opportunities - update!

A few days ago Ridealist released a notice through various online media to announce our plan to donate US$1,000 toward the costs of producing a media package for a deserving non-profit or grassroots organisation.

Ridealist is a non-profit volunteer initiative that aims to tell compelling stories of people and organisations making a positive difference in their communities. We usually do this in our spare time, at weekends, evenings etc.

But this year we are donating our two-week annual summer vacation to work on a project(s) in any location outside Hong Kong where we can offer our unique skills to help raise the profile of a non-profit or grassroots organisation working with the environment, children, animals, the elderly, the disadvantaged - or any combination of the foregoing since they are often inextricably linked together.

We plan to spend up to two weeks with the selected NGO/NPO and aim to produce a short - perhaps two minute promotional / introduction video that can be embedded directly on the NGO/NPOs website front page. This can help "brand" your NGO/NPO and can be used for short presentations at fund raisers etc.

We will also produce a longer - up to 22 minutes - video documentary, looking at the NGO/NPO in more depth. Telling individual stories.

These stories can be shared with television stations/networks and non-profit video sharing websites such as DoGooder TV, About GoodnessTV etc.. gaining extensive exposure for the NGO/NPO.

We were very encouraged with the response.

We received queries from Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon, India, and China.

But there were a couple of questions that were common among many of the responses, and we'd like to try and clarify them here.

"How do we get involved?"

If you are connected to, or operate a charity, NPO or grassroots organisation that might benefit from having their activities documented for a promotional/fundraising/informational/training video, then put us contact and we'll see how things go!

"What can you do for us?"

Rather than asking us what we can do for you, tell us what you would like us to do for you. You now have a camera crew, what would you like us to create that will reflect your work and the benefits you are bringing to the community. What is your core message? What message to you want to send to potential donors, sponsors?

"Where will the funding come from?"

Ridealist normally works within a small geographic area. When we were based in Beijing we focused on local NGOs, and the same criteria applies now here in Hong Kong.

We are completely self funded, and our efforts are on a volunteer-no charge basis, so consquently we have to try and keep our costs to an absolute minimum. Therefore, the groups we have previously worked with usually have to be within a bus or subway ride, or short drive from our home base.

Of ourse there are other costs associated with producing quality video.

Since we began Ridealist we've had to replace one computer for video editing, our video camera, and one still camera. We've also covered the costs for various computer software to assist in editing and communications.

Without sponsorship, this can put a severe strain on resources, and we have to be sustainable too!

But having said all that, we are keen to expand our horizons and our geographical reach. Many of the Hong Kong or China groups that are seeking our help, we can do over a weekend or a couple of weekends.

This year we would like to take this opportunity to immerse ourselves in a story without distractions.

But this does lead us to the issue of costs.

The roundtrip airfare from Hong Kong to Entebbe in Uganda, for example, is US$1,200 for each of us, which to be frank, is beyond our means. For Nairobi in Kenya, our airfares would come to a combined US$2,200.

Our contribution of US$1,000 won't go very far with prices like this, and then there is accomodation, food etc. to take into consideration.

But with your help, we believe we can make this work.

The post-production (editing etc) will be done on our return to Hong Kong.

Please let us know if this is of interest to you, and if you have the capacity to help us with finding sponsorship.

Sincerely yours,

Chris & Shirley Gelken

For your information, here's what people have been saying about Ridealist:

"Ridealist developed a video for my charity organization, Hands On Hong Kong, in 2010. It is an excellent piece of work in terms of both quality and content. It accurately captures what our organization is all about -- something that is not easy to do in just a few minutes. I'm very appreciative of the work Ridealist has done for Hands On. It's incredibly valuable for us to have this video to share with the community, including our supporters, volunteers, and current and potential sponsors.” March 1, 2011
Shaun Bernier, Hands on Hong Kong

"Chris Gelken and Shirley Han Gelken were instrumental in helping the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) promote its non-profit animal welfare and shelter management programs in the PRC. Through Ridealist, Chris and Shirley created two pro-bono short films for ICVS to promote its free animal welfare and shelter management seminars and the ICVS/Columbia University Alumni Association animal welfare fundraising event in 2010. Ridealist provides a unique and essential service to bring awareness of the work of small start-up or non-profit organizations that would otherwise not have the funding to hire professional videographers and short-film producers of this caliber. It is without doubt that the short-films produced by Ridealist have helped to establish ICVS’ animal welfare programs internationally and to enable us to give China a voice and to act as a bridge between China and the world in improving the health and welfare for both animals and humans.
Chris is a consummate professional and is also warm, caring and kind with a great sense of humor - a real pleasure to work with. Ridealist is a great gift that has been given to us to help change and impact the world for the better and has our highest recommendation.” February 27, 2011
Mary Peng, ICVS Beijing

“We really enjoyed working with Chris and Shirley. They had only a few days to shoot but still managed to put together a great video for our organization.” September 7, 2010
Judy Shen, CAI

“Chris produced a video for our Charity organization "Giving Hand" for no fee. Excellent job in very short time. This video promoted a Donating project for Levi Strauss, the charity in charge, Beijing Huayu Education Foundation and Giving Hand.” April 20, 2010
Bobbi Fisher, Giving Hand, Chengdu


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Looking for volunteer opportunities in June - Update

In an effort to address a few more of the questions that have been coming our away regarding the project, we've decided a few more details might be useful!

Ridealist normally works within a small geographic area. When we were based in Beijing we focused on local NGOs, and the same criteria applies now here in Hong Kong.

This is because all the work we undertake is on a completely volunteer, no-charge basis, and we do not have any sponsorship. Consequently, we have to try and keep our costs to an absolute minimum. Therefore, the group we are working with usually has to be within reasonable range of public transport or a car drive away.

And of course there are other costs. Since we began Ridealist we've had to replace one computer for video editing, our video camera, and one still camera. We've also covered the costs for various computer software to assist in editing and communications.

This year we are trying something new, that is, moving beyond our immediate geographic area. We can contribute up to US$1,000 toward the costs, and are hoping the target NPO/NGO can help us with raising the necessary funds to cover the other expenses.

The response to our original posting has been wonderful, with interest being expressed from groups as diverse and distant as Uganda, Cameroon, Kenya, India.

Now for the reality, the roundtrip airfare from Hong Kong to Uganda, Entebbe is US$1,200 each, which to be frank is beyond our means. And perhaps the money would be better spent reinforcing Ridealist's grassroots credentials closer to home.

We plan to spend up to two weeks with the selected NGO/NPO and aim to produce a short - perhaps two minute promotional / introduction video that can be embedded directly on the NGO/NPOs website front page. We will also producer a longer - up to 22 minutes - video documentary, looking at the NGO/NPO in more depth.

This can be shared with television stations/networks and non-profit video sharing websites such as DoGooder TV, About GoodnessTV etc..

The post-production (editing etc) will be done on our return to Hong Kong.

Please let us know if this is of interest to you, and if you have the capacity to help us with raising the necessary funds.

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