One wonderful thing about social media and new technologies is the power it places in individuals hands. Where previously as an individual you either had to have actual power – e.g. be the Prime Minister, or be in a powerful role such as a journalist for a leading newspaper, today technology has placed power within reach of individuals and small groups.
This is particularly valuable when it comes to worthy causes and raising awareness. Social media has enabled some very positive changes in healthcare – for example raising the awareness around the need for women to get screened for cervical cancer. Often the awareness is driven by an organisation or charity, but at other times it can come from a dedicated individual who knows how to make full use of the channel. Kelly Young, aka @Rawarrior, and author of the http://rawarrior.com/ blog, springs to mind as a great example of an individual who does a great job in raising awareness and providing resources around a disease.
Now the reason I was inspired to write about this is actually not related to healthcare. Rather my inspiration for this post comes from a very small and brand new charity called Hope for Romanian Strays set up by Aniela Ghita. To me Aniela is a wonderful example, like Kelly Young, of the difference that one person can make – and how social media can then amplify that difference.
I first came across Aniela via my cat’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheDonCat). I saw a rather desperate post asking for help with a paralysed dog that had been rescued from the street. Emily was a one year old terrier and along with her friend Aira – another rescue dog – had been found a forever home in the UK. Emily and Aira’s new mum was going to pay for the medial expenses – including Emily’s expensive wheels – and a transport option had been found for them. However the cost for the transport was around €1000 and Aniela had four days to raise the funds – the new mum could not afford to pay medical expenses and transport costs.
Years ago this would probably have been an impossible ask – but Aniela posted an event on Facebook and shared it with her network. This was how I came across this heart-wrenching story. My first concern was that this was one of the many scams but I decided to risk it anyway and donated – I felt that if this was genuine then I had to act to help get these two dogs both with horrific stories to a new loving home. It was no scam and Aniela managed to raise the funds in time thanks to Facebook and Emily and Aira are now both very happy in their new home in the UK. Had it not been for Facebook both these dogs would probably still be in a desperate condition in Romania but social media gave one woman the power to make a small change for the good and rescue these dogs.
For me this is truly inspiring to see passion and dedication like this becoming really effective, and making bigger changes thanks to a technology and channel that gives the individual the power to reach out to like minded people around the world and ask for help for such a worthy cause. I salute all you individuals out there making these changes and doing good – and on behalf of all the dogs and cats you rescue I thank you Aniela!
As an addendum: I am now working with Aniela to help further extend her work. She has formally set up a charity called Help for Romanian Strays and you can find out more information via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hope-for-Romanian-Strays/310177669061280 , Twitter @hopeforstrays and via the blog http://hopeforstrays.com If you can help with your skills or wish to donate (or even better adopt) then please contact Aniela at firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course please share!