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Crowd funding students make a difference in Colombia

Wednesday, 02 August 2017

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When challenged with creating a crowdfunding campaign for an in-class assignment, a group of Business Edge students went one step further and put their plan into action, raising over $1000 for victims of a flood in Mocoa, Colombia!

In April this year, Mocoa was hit with a months’ worth of rain, causing rivers in the city to overflow, resulting in a mudslide which killed over 700 people, and left 2,700 people without homes.

In just a few weeks, Bianca Goddard, Maria Pabon, Sharon Sunder and Thuy Nga Pham used a variety of crowdfunding techniques to raise money for a cause very close to, Colombian student, Maria’s heart.

“We chose Mocoa because we saw the terrible news about the floods, of how the city almost disappeared and the large amount of people that lost everything. As a Colombian, I felt that it was a small contribution that I could make being so far away from home.”

Working with social workers in the area, the students started putting their in-class project into action, and funds raised at each event were available to the victims almost immediately. Social workers were able to buy supplies which were in high demand such as food, nappies, water, clothing, blankets and many other necessities.

The students ran a public soccer game during a Colombian Community Event, putting together food stalls, games and raffle prizes. They then ran a bingo night at Santa Fe restaurant in Subiaco which raised over $600!

Alongside an online campaign, the students raised just over $1000 in total and were sent regular updates about how the money was being utilised.

“It was heart-warming seeing the photos and knowing that our efforts helped to uplift those in need. It made us realise that even small contributions matter and can make a difference, their appreciation was overwhelming.”

Maria’s grandmother was especially proud of her granddaughter, having lost her home to a disaster many years ago.

“My grandmother was very emotional and grateful at the same time when I told her about our work. She told me to put my heart into this project because having being in a similar situation herself, she understood that the pain they were going through was unimaginable.”

“It was a great learning experience and an opportunity for me to apply some of the knowledge and skills that I have learnt through university and in the Events Management program. I believe we should have more of these types of projects throughout the program, where we can push ourselves and get out of our comfort zone.”

The student’s lecturer and Unit Coordinator Gary Marchioro, has seen students run the crowd funding project for the last two years.

“This project involved a good deal of preparatory work and visits and discussions with external parties. These students displayed a high level of enthusiasm and passion for the event and have developed a set of quite unique job ready skills."

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