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Saturday, April 17, 2021

    The Power of The Crowd

    Have you ever heard of the Bayanihan spirit?


    The Bayanihan (pronounced as buy-uh-nee-hun) is a Filipino custom derived from a Filipino word “bayan”, which means nation, town or community. The term Bayanihan itself means “being in a bayan”, which refers to the spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation to achieve a particular goal. 

    The concept is said to complement the concept of Crowdfunding which is the practice of asking the public or “crowd,” typically through the Internet, for funding for a specific cause, project or venture. This fundraising concept is gaining momentum and is seen as a good fit and a worthy complement to the Filipino trait of Bayanihan, as mentioned in the research paper titled “Awareness and Attitudes Towards Crowdfunding in the Philippines” by Raymond Allan Guzman Vergara.

    Our country seems to be following the wave of crowdfunding in a positive light to help the needy especially during the time of natural calamities. The Assam Floods this year has been disastrous, the repercussions of which are still being felt far and wide. The COVID pandemic has added to the woes and the sufferings have only increased multifold. People and animals were displaced from their homes, there isn’t much aid that is being provided or made to reach due to the lockdowns and the pitiable condition is depleting each day. The flood has affected around 56 lakh people in 30 districts, the death toll numbers to around 109, and nearly 129 animals couldn’t brave another fight.

    Tragedy has struck.

    The only beacon of hope amidst these testing times are the actions taken on by the people across the divisions of society, to unite and help the victims of Assam and Bihar in their fight to survive. A lot has been done and is being done (even as I type) to collect funds, to raise awareness, to reach the far-flung areas devasted by the floods, and to share a little hope among the victims of the flood.

    Crowdfunding has been a major contributor to the cause, as many are using the platforms provided by Milaap, Ketto and even self-created crowd fundraisers to reach out to every part of the world to raise awareness and collect funds.

    My friend (Porosha Sonowal) and I too put our thoughts and pain into action and started a fundraiser for the Assam Flood Victims using Milaap. We did have our apprehensions at the start of the fundraiser but after the initial questions, we did experience the impact of the crowd and were overwhelmed by the response the fundraiser generated. With an initial target of 30,000, we were ready to accept whatever we received after a week of the fundraiser.

    But to our surprise, we had crossed our target amount with a good leap on the third day which made us increase the target amount to 40,000 for just a day more. And at the end of the fourth day, we had met our target and successfully closed the fundraiser. 

    This experience of crowdfunding did prove the Bayanihan spirit and the power of the crowd. It showed that when we put our strength and resources together we can achieve every goal we set and that humanity isn’t dead, it just needs a little stimulus to ignite. The concept of crowdfunding is a very noble one and it can touch lives and change them for the best.

    The writer is a PhD Scholar and a trainer from Guwahati (Assam)

    The views expressed by the writer are personal and may not in any way represent those of TIME8.


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