Dear Friends, Friends of Friends, Fans, and Followers!
The Big News: Back to the Future
After 10 years living in Boston, my time is drawing to a close; I am finally leaving to go back home!
Starting on July 17th, I'll be traveling throughout southern Africa for 6 months, evaluating non-profits and social enterprises, and providing coaching and support on social media marketing, fundraising, campaigning, leadership and capacity training to organizations in need.
I will also be using this time to gather stories from African women's organizations, including LGBT African projects and initiatives in order to develop partnerships for my new project, an online platform that fosters community building between African women, and provides African women expert sources to media outlets all over the world.
Why You Should Donate: Africans for Africa
"Until lions write their own history, tales of the hunt will continue to glorify the hunter."
Africa is often depicted as one big safari (or war zone). Why? Because its stories are rarely told by Africans themselves. For every western media news story I hear about people getting killed, murdered, etc., there is an untold story of resistance, progress, and change.
As someone who has felt repeatedly silenced for being who I am -- whether as a woman in Nigeria, a person of color in the US, a queer, gender non-conforming woman in a heterosexist society, etc -- social media has been my weapon of choice; embracing social media has enabled me to lift my voice from a place of powerlessness to the voice that now reaches (and influences) the thousands that read my blog and follow me on Twitter. Moreover, I have started and led countless self-funded and community-supported social change initiatives without having to write a single grant or compromise on my mission based on donor interest. Because of the autonomy social media has offered me, I've remained free to set my own agenda, and cause trouble, my way.
For African social change organizations and grassroots groups, with basically no budget -- no marketing or communications departments that can produce fancy marketing material -- social media offers, as it does for me, an accessible avenue for articulating their mission, sharing their work, and garnering support.
As for why you should trust me with this issue, well... Perhaps it's because I’ve been home sick for the past 10 years, but I’ve poured so much love into Boston; I’ve given the community here so much of myself. I founded the first networking organization for LGBT women of color, I’ve concepted, produced, and facilitated well over 200 events during my tenure here (yes, I counted), including art events showcasing under-the-radar women of color artists, the first African forum about homophobia and its impact which included straight Africans in religion, women’s rights, art, media, and public health, a nationally-recognized, week-long, multicultural pride festival celebrating the diversity of the LGBTQ diaspora, not to mention a plethora of skill-sharing workshops: writing and story-telling, social media, discussion facilitation for leaders, diversity for organizations, and much more.
I have a track record of creating long-lasting impact wherever I live. With your support, I’ll be able to finally share that love with my comrades at home.
No More Complaining; I'm Doing Something About It
A friend, and fellow immigrant told me, recently, "So many of us leave our countries with the hope of improving ourselves somehow, with the hopes of returning one day to make it better. So many of us never do. You’re actually going."
By donating to my project, you'll be supporting my work as an African empowering African organizations -- including women’s and LGBT organizations most in need -- to speak for themselves. You’ll be supporting the idea that all our voices are powerful and important. You’ll be supporting someone who’s no longer content to sit back and write about how African voices are missing, but is doing something about it.
Here's what I've accomplished so far:
- Already reached out to over 100 non-profits across South Africa
- Currently in talks with ~40 of them to learn about their work, discuss social media needs
- Already confirmed 5 1-on-1 online fundraising support meetings with African women's organizations
- Already confirmed my first online fundraising and social media training for Tue Aug 7th in Cape Town
- Already confirmed my first African Women and LGBT Story-telling workshop on Thu Aug 9th in Cape Town
- Also -- most exciting! -- I will be working with Zanele Muholi, reknowned South African photographer and activist to publish an anthology of LGBT African stories.
Big Heart, Small Wallet
Doing good requires money, lots of it.
I've already purchased my one-way ticket to Cape Town, South Africa (my first stop); I'm leaving on July 17th, so I just need funds to cover my food and transportation while I'm away.
I will not be working, or getting compensated for my time for the entire duration of my trip. I've spent well over $3000 already on planning this trip; mainly on flights, ground transportation, and travel supplies. So, I'll need all the help I can get. Here’s a rough breakdown of my expenses*:
- Hostel Accommodation: $4200 (~$25/day for 6 months)
- RT Flight between Cape Town and Boston: $3000 (already paid $1500 one-way)
- **Flights and Ground Transportation within Southern Africa ($3040)
- Meals: $1680 (if I eat once a day)
*This budget does not include miscellaneous items (i.e. toiletries, laundry etc) or the significant incidental cost of living away from home.
**The budget above only includes costs for travel through the first five countries. I will be visiting South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, as those are the countries with organizations who have expressed the most interest in my social media, communications, and fundraising training.
It also needs to be said that I'm fundraising for way less money than I actually need.
GIVE $$, And You Shall Receive PERQS!
Every single "perq" you'll receive has been concepted with my mantra in mind: Love is My Revolution. In exchange for donating, I'm offering a wide variety of goodies -- some from friends and comrades who wish to support me in this way.
- Special Edition T: Love is My Revolution
- Special Edition T: Africans for Africa
- Special Edition T: Homophobia is UnAfrican
- Special Edition T: Diversity Speaks
Can't Give? 6 Other Ways You Can Support Africans for Africa
If you support my work, but cannot donate money, I would really appreciate the following instead:
- Share this campaign link on your FB page with a clear ask to your friends to donate on your behalf
- Share this campaign link via Twitter, using the hashtag #africansforafrica
- If you’re a media creator (writer, video blogger, web series producer, podcaster etc) consider using your platform to profile/interview me. I’m available via phone, skype, google hangout!
- If you KNOW a media creator, consider sending them my link as a tip asking them to feature/profile me!
- If you’re a small business owner or freelancer, consider donating a service/product for me to include in my perqs.
- If you’re a non-profit I’ve worked with in the past, consider giving me a shout out via an email blast or highlighting this campaign on your blog
Note: Media creators, non-profits, and small business owners that make a signifcant push for visbility of my campaign via their platforms will be included in a dedicated blog post and email blast to over 1500 email contacts.
Thank you all for reading. Remember, this project lasts for 6 months. So give as BIG as you can. I’d really appreciate it. Thanks so much in advance.