Sunday, 24 June 2012

A bit of awesomeness. The heart of volunteers.

Shirley and I have been working with Moses in Uganda for a few years now.

He’s a terrific guy. Really, he is quite awesome.

To be honest, he has his own problems. His son, Joshua, had to be treated for a serious and possibly life-threatening heart condition last year. Moses himself, often struggles with bouts of malaria.

You can see him here in this short video Ridealist produced to promote a sustainable goat farming project Moses initiated.

At this point, we’d like to sing the praises of Marcia Bujold who did such a magnificent job on the animation. Pro-bono, volunteer, free - from the deep goodness of her huge heart.

(And who is also now deeply involved in another pro-bono, volunteer animation project we convinced her to take on for a Hong Kong-based shelter and counseling centre for victims of domestic violence - or to paraphrase Laurel and Hardy, Marcia might say: Hmm, another fine project you have gotten me into Chris and Shirley!)

But just watch the credits, so many other volunteers came together, offered their services, their time, their effort, to make the video possible.

In collaboration with Moses, Marcia and other volunteers also gave their time to create a HOA blog, and the Rainbow Beads project.

Another volunteer, Jenn Anderson organizes fundraising activities to feed the 180 orphans that Moses has taken under his roof.

We didn’t mention that? The orphans? Well there’s a school, an orphanage, sustainable farming, a clinic...

Ridealist then came up with the idea of getting the children to paint some pictures of their village, environment, life etc.. and we would put them online and sell/auction them. We also set up a shop, where you could get these images printed on everything from tee-shirts to bags, hats etc.

Sadly, despite hundreds of compliments praising the talent of the youngsters, the Hands of Action Children’s Art Project didn’t take off as well as we had hoped.

And we at Ridealist take responsibility for that. Our design abilities for something that is actually quite complex, were not up to the task. This is what we came up with - Hands of Action Children’s Art Project - We overcomplicated it, we did just about everything wrong.

But.... and here’s the good news... a professional webpage and internet marketing company in Holland has volunteered to do a complete redesign. Yes, volunteered. Pro-bono. Free.

Don M. Ouwens and his team from Cross Capto   are brainstorming it, and are determined to make it fly.

After looking through their portfolio of work, we can only say that the HOA Children’s Art Project is going to rock... and rock huge!

And that, is our little bit of awesomeness for today!

HOA is just one small part of a global network of volunteers who are working to make this world a better place for all of us to live. Moses and the local community in Bukibukolo are not looking for charity, they are not looking for handouts. They work very hard, and the children have ambitions just like any other child.

This is not charity, this is investment in the future.

And who knows, the child you help today, could be the doctor who saves you tomorrow.

Warm regards, and bless all of your efforts,

Chris and Shirley
Hong Kong
25 June 2012

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Saturday, 23 June 2012

We are not in competition - Small NPOs need to collaborate, not compete.

Most of the people we follow on twitter - and those that follow us - are in some way involved in the non-profit, charity, awareness sector.

We - and our friends in the twitterverse, cover a range of subjects.

Human trafficking, slavery, child abuse, domestic violence, the environment, animals, sustainability, human rights, volunteerism... we’ve covered them all at Ridealist.

Some of our most prolific RT’ers, and those that share our posts on Facebook or LinkedIn, do not have so many followers. Around the 1,500 mark for most of them. And they also do not follow that many people either.

The ones that never, or hardly ever RT are the LIONS (LinkedIn Online Networkers) or those that follow 50,000 people on twitter. Seriously, how can you do that?

Ridealist (@TheRidealist) and the crew that run it (@chrisgelken) would obviously love to have 50,000 followers, but could we seriously follow 50,000 other tweeters? Not a chance.

We already miss so much really good and important stuff that we’d like to share and RT, and besides, we’d never get any work done.

We are happy to keep it “village sized” - we can follow what you are doing, and you can follow (and hopefully RT) what we are doing.

But we do follow some of the bigger names in the twitterverse - it is always good to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. Intelligence gathering!

But the bigger they get, the less willing they are to cooperate. To share, to RT, to encourage. And this is kind of sad.

We are not in competition.

Our goals are the same, so if we do it, or if you do it, what does it matter? It gets done.

Here’s something I posted last year... And I still stand by every word..

Why we need to stick together!

Chris & Shirley 

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