Charities in Social Networks – Get Your Voice Heard! by D.F.

 

Dedicated to the victims of medical negligence

 

 

The digital revolution

 

In the immortal words of Bob Dylan: “The times they are A-changin”. There is no doubt that social media has played a very notable part in this, both for business and personal communication. It’s easy to forget that it wasn’t so long ago that Twitter was nothing more than a twinkle in the viral cosmos and Mark Zuckerberg was being rocked in his cradle.

 

It’s amazing how much social media has changed things. One click and millions of people can see a Facebook message or a Tweet. Earlier we used to send out each individual e-mail, or pick up a phone, or waste so much time standing in a line to reach the right person. Now we can spend less than a minute putting together a message and sending it to our network – an incredible way to advertise, create social events, locate a resource or even get donations for a charity.

 

Social media is the latest and greatest buzz word in the non-profit and philanthropic sphere. The emergence of social networking has opened up a lot of doors for getting messages out there and spread them further than was ever possible before. We can click a few buttons and make a difference in the world… Not just in a world of cyberspace, but in the real world and here and right now. This is one of the best things about it!

 

 

Charities rock social media

 

If you had told me this years ago, I would not have believed you. Charities getting support via social media avenues?!? But it’s quite true. A couple of days ago I have got a posting on my wall in Vkontakte (the Russian equivalent of Facebook) from one of my friends. It wasn’t a spam or a fraud as most of us would hastily conclude nowadays. The „S.O.S.“ appeal didn’t leave me indifferent to the actual story and I beyond a doubt immediately opened a link which brought me to a recently created group and I continued to read shocking details.

 

„Help Ginger! We just want that he will be happy!“ – was the first thing that attracted my attention. It was the motto of a community organized by the best friends of 25-year-old Evgeniy Smirnov, Genja, Genichka or „Ginger“ as his team calls him because of the color of his hair.

 

He is originally from Lazorevskoye, a small village on the Black see coast, close to Sochi, the capital of the Winter Olympic Games 2014. He is Russia’s champion in break-dance, a very talented, kind and openhearted person as his friends describe him. Just a glance over his photos and videos of his creations leaves no doubt of the truth of their words.

 

On May 1, 2012 „Ginger“ was admitted to a hospital in the village of Lazarevskoye after a road accident in which his motorbike collided with a car. He was diagnosed with a double open tibia fracture and taken to intensive care. Smirnov’s friends demanded that he should be moved to the region’s administrative center of Krasnodar – but he was denied admission for a week. The gangrene developing in the young man’s leg was treated only belatedly and the limb had to be amputated as a result. Medical blunder cost the break dancer his leg.

 

Genja has no parents, he became an orphan at the age of 10. His best friends clearly understanding it, started a big supporting campaign in Russian and international social networks (Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook, YouTube etc.) with the main aim – to raise necessary funds for physical and psychological rehabilitation in a one of the best clinics in Israel and, certainly for a very good leg prosthetic. They don’t blame the driver or doctors, they just promote friendship and the faith in the human possibility to succeed in spite of anything.

 

Genja is a a real sportsman, a big optimist and sincerely believes that he will finally by all means return to the stage. It was a great challenge for him just to survive, and he needs a great support to continue to live, to create, to be happy!

 

Hundred of cities and scores of countries all over the world follow closely Ginger’s destiny, they are united with the common idea to help him…thousands of comments in Internet, several charity concerts and dance battles, a few journalistic investigations and news on the main Russian TV channels, over 3 million Rubles (app. 75000 Euro) gathered during last 3 weeks…His friends did a great job, they’ve got their voices heard, thanks to social media.

 

It’s just one episode illustrating how social networks can be useful to reach wide audiences when you are alone facing a certain problem – small kids suffering from leukemia, lonely old people, orphans, homeless injured animals. It’s not within our power to change the past but we should not be callous and blind to the present…even one small step can be very valuable!

 

 

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