The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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From the minute I was told about it, I shrugged and said “this is silly.” Why? I remember when the Harlem Shake started, I was super excited that I jumped at the chance to get one done for the company I was working at. Then other little things started to happen in the ever-changing fad world and they would send little shivers of disgust down my spine. Why? I’ve realised we’ve become sheep to these viral videos, memes, fashion and occupational trends, these over all fads that die out before you have the time to get into them; we just don’t hold on to profound ideas and causes much. And after voicing it out and checking what the challenge was initially and purely about, I started to change my mind.

This challenge has every right to be included in this blog simply for achieving the 4 goals of The Good Human: Inspiration. Positivity. Awareness. Continuity. And I’d like to share my two cents on the pros & cons of this cause that went viral and became a fad.

Pros:

1. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who complained how much she hated this whole challenge and literally said “I didn’t even know what ALS was until these videos came out”. She said it like it was the worst idea in the whole wide world. And I told her “well now you know, and that’s the whole point”. And it is even when we tend to forget. Let’s just say there a far more people who know about ALS this minute than there was just 3 weeks ago. And ALS is one of the most destructive, devastating and deadly diseases of all time and it’s incurable.

2. Because there is no cure yet, foundations, associations, and research centres just like the ALS Association need resources to find the cure. Their resources are mostly tied down to awareness-support and monetary donations and from what they state on their website, they have successfully received $10 million dollars in the last two weeks, 15 times more than what they received last year within the same period.

3. The creative and out-of-the-box aspect of this causes’ success has broken new grounds. The challenge has surely taught and demonstrated, yet again, the power of social media and how to use it to your benefit. The challenge started out as a simple bet and later turned into one of the most successful viral videos of this age. There’s a lesson here, creativity + simplicity + social media = success!

4. We are humans at the end of the day and we are on a constant search for happiness even when we’re the most troubled and negative. There’s so much going on in the world today that sinks your heart and stops you from enjoying your freedom to do all the things that life has given you. But what good does that do to the people who need your strength and your freedom? What I realised from this campaign or challenge was the humour and the lightness that didn’t bring people down, instead it did the most natural thing it could do, infect people with its humour and fun, get them all happy and be part of a fun society, ask them for a little sum of money to help which they will gladly do for what they’ve taken in return.

Cons: 

1. I was against it because I knew that once it reached us here in the UAE, we were going to take it and break it. And maybe before it even left the US, a lot of people broke it. What I mean is, the challenge has a cause, how many people have taken this challenge for all the wrong reasons?

2. Ice = Water and water is scarce in a lot of parts of the world. Therefore, if you’re throwing away a lot of water when other people and living things are dying from the lack of it, then there is a huge gap and it’s a big issue. The ALS Association makes sure to note that we should all be thoughtful about water usage and if we are in an area or country affected by drought, to either repurpose the water for later or simply spread awareness by a bunch of other ways.

3. “What about the children in [insert war-ravaged country]?” Yes, many and I mean MANY of us have done absolutely NOTHING for these poor and desolate souls and yet this new ‘thing’ comes from the US and suddenly we’re all about ‘ALS’ and ‘it’s for a cause’. Doing good and giving and helping should be part of our daily lives. I know a girl who surprises me to a point where I feel ashamed. Little acts of buying water and juices and giving them away to random labourers she sees on the street, to pro-actively involving her entire office every time a donation drive is going on and unfortunately there’ve been many in the last 2 years. And these are just part of her daily little goodness.

 

As a conclusion, can we attempt to start something that is light on the heart but has great effects on people? That has the ability to help people? We don’t need to copy or follow but these campaigns have proven to work. Social media works. How can we include Arab causes, local causes, in campaigns such as these?

I’d like to hear from the community – your thoughts on this challenge, did you take it? Will you? Has it changed anything? Did you make a donation instead? Am I missing more cons? What can we do for our causes?

 

Good wishes to all and visit www.alsa.org for more information and to make your donations.

10 Valuable Thoughts from Your Good Human – Flea4Charity

As part of the 10 Valuable Thoughts feature, The Good Human has asked Flea4Charity 10 questions to get some valuable insight into the foundation and the people and projects behind it. We encourage the community to keep an eye out for foundations and charitable projects; one day perhaps you might be able to support and take part in a cause that can impact you profoundly. Read on and feel free to share any questions you may have for Flea4Charity.

 

1. What/Who is Flea4Charity?

Flea4Charity is a Dubai-based charity founded by Luz Villamil and Jihad M’nasria back in March 2011. We are a team of 6 members altogether, including Ahmed Ramadan, Ahmad Abugosh, Sajid Ismail and Khadra Hayati. We started out by wanting to help our Libyan university colleagues whom had families and friends suffering during the revolution in Libya, yet we always wanted to do our own initiative since we have been active in CSR since we first met in university back in 2004.

Jihan Mnasria & Luz Villamil

Flea4Charity team

2. What major projects have you worked on?

– Raising more than $44,000 for the famine in East Africa.
– Better Bukra (Better tomorrow) online show in collaboration with www.mydubaimycity.com which featured different acts of kindness.
– #GiveSyria Campaign.
– More than 9,000 meals have been distributed throughout 2013 and 2014 to labor workers in various camps in the UAE.
– Celebrating various occasions with underprivileged and orphaned children.
– Various collaborations with local and regional NGO’s and initiatives such as Breathing Numbers (they focus on the refugees in the region such as Zaatari Camp in Jordan.)

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3. What are your future projects and plans?
Charity fashion show, funds will go to victims of Gaza, is our next project for the upcoming period and a couple of collaborations with local and regional initiatives.

4. What is one thing you would love to be a part of?
Placing mobile libraries in various rural areas and villages, mainly for children.

5. How do you think is the best way for the average person to do good and be a good human in their community?
To simply think of others and practice random acts of kindness at least once a week and it doesn’t have to be as monetary help. It can simply be formulated in writing kind/positive words and placing them in random places for others to receive.

6. If you had the resources, how would you change the world? Or at least influence change to the good?

By diminishing illiteracy and providing the children all over the world a safe home, proper food, medicine & sources of joy/entertainment.

7. What are your challenges and how can the community help?
Our main challenge is mainly the continuous flowing funds and coming up with new & innovative ways to inspire people to give back to their communities.

8. What is one valuable thought you can share that has really impacted you (as a person/as a team/as a charity) and changed the way you thought?
Giving doesn’t only impact those you give, it actually impacts you first and that happiness is doubled when shared.

9. Share the most fulfilling moment since you have begun your charitable journey.
There is no one fulfilling moment, every event outcome is a fulfilling moment, every smile we see on childrens’ faces we draw, every prayer we receive from those we are blessed to help, every compliment from our volunteers and contributors.

10. Your motto?
“And whoever saves one – it is as if he has saved mankind entirely” – Qura’an | Surat Al Ma’idah [5:32]

 

To learn more about Flea4Charity, visit their website http://www.flea4charity.com