- Rent for my family, which needs to be in before the 1st of February.
This fundraiser is about the catch-22 that is our life.
When I say our, I mean that of my wife, our 2 boys, and me. We met online, through a mutual friend, on Facebook. As it's been quite a ride so far, details of which I will be posting on the blog, we've now come to a dead-point, an impasse.
My family is spread of 2 countries, on 2 continents, with a 9 hour time difference, bound to due to immigration laws and travel limitations.
In the past year, we've seen and fought so many challenges, most of which we have overcome, but just before Christmas, our world came crashing down; I lost my job due to the fact that the project I was working on got put on hold.
With the holidays, there were no chances of getting a new job on short notice, and due to our precarious financial situation, I had taken an advancement loan from the intermediate party, which completely got deducted from my outstanding pay. This left us with a huge gap in payments to be done.
We've now reached a situation where we've avoided eviction, but despite my efforts of regaining employment, both in my native The Netherlands, Canada, or even remotely, we're at the end of our rope.
While we have tried every means available, considering our emotional state of mind as well, and the lumbering fear of Canadian Child Welfare Services (CAS) taking her kids away, again, and on top of that, the fact that we miss all the safety nets each government provides due to the fact that we're forced to maintain this international relationship; we're now desperate for a solution. This fear is also why I am keeping her and the boys fairly anonymous, for now.
What do you do when the social support systems can't help you? Give up? Drop the one you love like a brick, because everyone tells you to? Give up? On life? Live on the streets? Run the risk of losing the love of your life due to intervention that are supposed to be in her kids' best interest? Run the risk of having to read the obituary of one or the other?
I can't give up, but I've used all other resources available. Those that are available on the short term anyway, because government support systems apparently find help after the fact more important than when it's easier to turn things around.
Because our problems have become so big that (close) family and friends can't even make a dent in it anymore, we're turning to you; our friends, family, acquaintances, (former) coworkers, and other internet friends.
Thinking about a solution, I came to the conclusion that if we're going to ask for your (financial) help, you'd want some assurance about what we're going to spend it on. One thing leading to another and finally...
As our situation is quite unique in its own, spanning half the world, I came to the conclusion that this called for a solution in its own; a new way of thinking.
After seeing an idea for a help request by a fellow Redditor, calling for lots of small donations, combined with reading about the Rolling Jubilee project, I came up with the following:
What if 25000 people were to donate 1 monies to a shared goal?
Even while having nothing, seeing the amount of help requests in R/Assistance, on Reddit, made me feel so helpless! So powerless!
Or even people going through a rough time, wanting a random token of kindness, or a pizza, in a time of need!
What if the power of people could help them out? Not by loan, but by donation. What if 10 people could donate for a pizza? 300 people for the rent of the couple with the Autistic son?
I found myself in a catch-22... I can't set this up while my own life goes to waste!! I wouldn't even want myself to be touching that money!
But something...needed to be done...it felt like the right thing to do!
I then started to think about, okay, how would I make someone feel confident in donating money to anyone in need? Without making them feel like they were sponsoring a lost cause?
I quickly came to see that such a system could not be viable without some sort of obligation to succeed, to change. Some sort of social contract! Some assurance that money would be well spent, instead of having someone come back for more later!
I'll (gladly) discuss this further on the blog, but I settled on a few basic rules:
- If you're going to get help turning your life around, then do so knowing that it's a once in a life-time chance. It's that one break to turn your life around, use it wisely!
- Once you turned your life around, you join in on the system, with an arbitrary amount of at least 1 monies.
- 5 social obligations, as a means to motivate you to succeed:
- Fix your life.
- Help improve someone else's life.
- Do something for your personal growth, be it something sportive, creative, reflective, anything that will make you personally grow.
- Do something for your future, something that adds to your professional growth.
- Do something for the greater good, something selfless; run a volunteer project, organize a community event, anything that primarily benefits everyone else.
As for everything, everyone being helped is expected to make a specific plan, that also means that quite possibly you need to show receipts for bills paid, or provide with photographic evidence, even possibly someone being verified locally.
This would ultimately lead to a "Life Investment Plan", where the investment would be the life of a fellow human being and the return would be knowing that a life was touched for the better, while at the same time not requiring big donations.
In essence, to draw a rough comparison, what if you could put your life on time-out? Go on a sabbatical in a way? While you get your life back on track?
To me, it came down to this:
When someone genuinely wants fix their life, money should never be the issue.
After thinking it through, I reached the conclusion that if I could donate 1 euro to a joint effort of someone "rebooting" their life and ultimately having that person add to the greater sum of that joint effort, I would gladly donate even more if I could.
- Reboot our life! (Get financials in order, get paperwork for Canada done, payback some/most of the loans (prioritized), get food in the fridge/on the table, sell/rent out my apartment, etc.)
- Help my wife get her cupcake business going so she has a source of income of her own! (She needs to keep a little stock and get a website, business cards and all the rest set up.)
- Having DJed and having needed to sell my gear in preparation of the move to Vancouver and for the money, I'd love to get back to DJing, and more importantly, take the time to make an album with my own remixes and productions, and then to release it to the public. (Also see point 5.)
- As jobs are difficult in the Vancouver market, I'd like to switch careers and get certified as a software developer, plus release the framework I've been developing. (http://coloreframework.org/)
- For the greater good, I'd like to set up the organization to help other people; with excess donations from this fundraiser going towards that organization, and also, based on a donationware principle, I would donate half of the profits of the album sales to the organization. (I should not fall into my common pitfall again, by going all in, for free; although performing at a charity event would definitely go to the organization.)
I want to help the world, but right now, it is our need for help that's preventing me/us to help the world. Anyone who knows me can confirm this. There's so much trouble in the world.
We can all use a little hope...can you give us a little hope? In turn, we'll be paying it forward by providing a little hope for everyone!