Help me cover my expenses while volunteering for Unconditional Basic Income!
Hi! I'm Antonis and I've been volunteering for Unconditional Basic Income (as well as various other causes) since 2013. That's when I came across the idea for the first time, during the European Citizens Initiative campaign for a UBI in Europe. The campaign didn't manage to gather enough signatures back then, as UBI didn't yet enjoy the media coverage it has today, but it did give birth to UBIE, the main organisation advocating for UBI in Europe. So I of course joined the organisation and started volunteering immediately.
But what is UBI? Simply put, a UBI is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all citizens of a community on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement.
UBI has the following five characteristics (as described by BIEN):
- Periodic: it is paid at regular intervals (for example every month), not as a one-off grant.
- Cash payment: it is paid in an appropriate medium of exchange, allowing those who receive it to decide what they spend it on. It is not, therefore, paid either in kind (such as food or services) or in vouchers dedicated to a specific use.
- Individual: it is paid on an individual basis and not, for instance, to households.
- Universal: it is paid to all, without means testing.
- Unconditional: it is paid without a requirement to work or to demonstrate willingness-to-work.
You can read more about it on a dedicated FAQ on reddit. This can keep you going on for hours.
I won't elaborate more on what UBI is, as this fundraiser is targeted mostly towards people who already have a basic awareness around it, but I'd like to mention a bit more on what I've been doing about it and why I ask for your support.
As I mentioned above, I've been volunteering for UBI since 2013, but a lot more heavily since 2018, as my passion for UBI became stronger thanks to the people I've met through it, as well as an increased awareness on its potential and its impact. I've attended most general assemblies of UBIE and several international events related to UBI, but the turning point in my motivation came when I represented UBIE in the 2018 European Youth Event in Strasbourg, as I was part of a group so lovely that we decided to continue working together after the EYE and we formed the Youth Group of UBIE, kept the discussion on, met a few times in more events after that and developed a small community that keeps us motivated as long we keep playing an active role in it.
This year I've put a lot more of my focus as a volunteer in UBI:
- I've attended UBI Nordic and co-authored a report on what went on there,
- I've built the website for a new global UBI initiative by friends I met in UBI Nordic that makes the case for how UBI contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Mission Possible 2030,
- ...which is very much in harmony with my own ambitious UBI project for Europe, 30for2030, which I've been developing simultaneously with members of the UBIE Youth Group,
- I've designed posters, flyers and social media covers for this year's International Basic Income Week,
- I've met the founder of UBI Asia Pacific while volunteering in Asia and they also needed help with their website, so I built it for them and also supported their conceptual work,
- as I'm writing these lines, I'm on my way to volunteer for the 2019 BIEN Congress in Hyderabad!
Which brings me to the point of this fundraiser. Volunteering takes time and effort. Volunteering is basically work not subsidised by any salary. People still volunteer a lot, despite not getting paid for it, as they do so out of their intrinsic motivation, the sense of doing their part to make this world a better place. Volunteers are one of the groups said to benefit the most from UBI (after it will finally get implemented of course), as they will be able to do their volunteer work without worrying for their survival for the hours they choose to spend benefiting society even if it doesn't pay the bills.
I've been volunteering for years and lately a lot more for UBI, as you can see above. But attending all those events related to UBI requires spending a lot on tickets and living expenses while I'm there which is not so easy to cover with years of unemployment on my back. On that note, I come from Greece, which suffers from a decade-long financial crisis that has left half of its youth unemployed; I did choose to volunteer while unemployed which gave me the skills that I now pursue professionally and I moved to Germany to do just that, but until that starts paying off in a sustainable manner I'm essentially still a poor volunteer.
As the precariat knows very well, not having enough money costs a lot more money. In the example of travelling, not being able to buy tickets in advance, results in getting them at a much higher price last minute, as well as making a lot of compromises on food, accommodation etc. This is my case at the moment I'm writing this, when my volunteering efforts led to me being left with very little money on my way to the BIEN Congress (I was counting on a paid gig that got cancelled - common case scenario for the precariat while trying to make ends meet) and unable to even afford getting tickets for my return back to Europe.
So the inimitable irony of not being able to sufficiently work for UBI without having a UBI led to me launching this fundraiser, asking for your help to cover my emergency travel costs. Essentially, what I'm asking to build with your help is...
an emergency UBI travel fund for UBI volunteer work;
or a UBI for UBI!
I intend to keep this ongoing, in order to have a backup thanks to your support for future emergency expenses related to my UBI volunteer work. I'm also able to give some rewards to those who will support me!
Thanks in advance for making UBI a reality!
Edit: I've managed to gather enough funds to get my tickets back to Europe, but volunteering for UBI is an ongoing effort until it becomes a reality, so I'll leave this on to keep gathering funds to support my participation in UBI related events. Thank you for your support!