February is an indication that the year is finally in full swing.
Everybody is back at work and the kids have settled into their new classes at school, so we can start planning ahead.
Only the varsity students have been enjoying the last week of holidays before returning to class.
And then, of course, it’s the desperate tears of those with outstanding fees and those who can’t afford the fees for the new year.
I wanted to share an interesting piece of information I came across recently.
It’s got to do with how I always harp on and on about getting involved with technology.
I read that some students have actually used technology to get funding for themselves and their studies and I believe it is the way forward for talented Cape Flats kids with no cash.
Crowdfunding is one of those amazingly clever things that the internet has gifted us.
It is basically a way for people with really great ideas, to show off those ideas to people with money, who are keen to invest or donate.
One such platform is called BackaBuddy, which allows people to raise funds for causes that they are passionate about.
And of course nobody is more passionate about a cause than a student with a dream and no cash.
BackaBuddy says it has 50 students with online fundraising campaigns this year and in one instance, a UCT student needing R128 000 managed to raise nearly R133 000 to complete her final year.
Most of the campaigns are being run by students who have started their studies, but are unable to continue because they have fallen on tough financial times.
They tell their stories to the world and explain their passion of what they want to do and individuals with soft hearts and deep pockets make donations.
BackaBuddy pays the money over directly to the institutions, in this case, the universities.
It truly does show off the positive power of the internet in the most splendid way.
Because there truly are millions of people all over the world who are willing to help in small little ways, but don’t know how.
I have always seen crowdfunding as a way for them to do just that and in so doing, change the lives and destinies of individuals, who can then go on and change the lives of dozens more people when they finally reach their dreams.
It is a global cycle of empathy and compassion that I believe shows off the very best of humanity.
But it doesn’t just stop there, because it is an opportunity that we need to take advantage of.
There are crowdfunding platforms for just about anything, including business ideas and products.
There are people who comb through these websites, looking for opportunities to give you their money and help you realise your dream.
In most of the cases, they want nothing in return.
Which brings me back to the beginning where I started harping on about technology.
If you have a young person in your family who is talented in something, whether it is academics, or music, or fixing things, or whatever, but they are unable to further their studies, please tell them about crowdfunding.
Let them read this article and hopefully it will inspire them and renew their hope that with a little bit of help and ingenuity, their dreams can be realised.
Like most things that matter, this is not easy and they will need commitment and resilience, but there’s a very good chance it will be worth it in the end.
It’s not the sort of thing you need help with either.
It just takes you going online and Google crowdfunding and spending a lot of time reading about how it works.
Of course there are challenges, but if your dreams matter to you, then they can be overcome.
Local libraries will give you free access to the internet, then it’s simply a matter of investing your time to educate yourself on how it works.
There are some awesome tools out there than can help us to success.
It’s about time we figure out how they work.