With all the attention on other social media tools, many people forget about the power of flickr, its wonderful community and rich photographs of the world. Take for example CARF, Children At Risk Foundation, which has just launched its "Reaching for a Star" Flickr Xmas fund-raising campaign for 2006. (This is the second year for this annual campaign.) The group has over 800 members and has a goal of raising $10 per member to support street kids programs. The photos and conversation in this group are quite breathtaking. They also encourage their members to contribute photos of children found in flickr to the group called Changemakers.
I did a little poking around and here's what I learned about the organization and its founder, Gregory J. Smith.
As one of their 1.800 fellows in a highly effective global network of social entrepreneurs, CARF's founder, Gregory J. Smith, deeply respects Ashoka’s vision of a world where Everyone can be a Changemaker: a world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change.
Not only is Gregory privileged to be part of Ashoka’s global network of social entrepreneurs, he is also part of another highly creative global community called Flickr, the largest photo-sharing community in the world, where many of you, its members, share that same privilege. With more than a million regular members and millions more who visit the community, Flickr obviously hosts an incredible number of potential changemakers.
Identifying potentials is something we do all the time in our organization, working with youth venture to pave the way for social change in their own underprivileged communities. But how does one go about releasing the hidden potential of such an immense global community as Flickr? We have often wondered what moves mountains, - what makes people feel solidarity towards, or wakes their compassion to support a solution to a given problem. For some people, being an active part of the solution means everything, whilst for others, making a modest financial contribution towards the realization and implementation of a solution is probably more realistic.
As a social entrepreneur, Gregory is constantly faced with challenges to find effective solutions to protect the rights of street children and other children at risk through our organization. Respecting his own limitations, he therefore believes in a strong social network of changemakers as being the only realistic and effective solution to many of the world’s social problems.
At CARF, we often need to rely on our creative ability to find quick solutions to urgent problems and preferably, ones that don’t put too much strain on our annual budget. Some problems are easier than others to resolve due to our 14 years of experience as a humanitarian organization, which has obviously left us with a certain amount of know-how regarding local conditions and limitations. Other situations may not have immediate answers.
Whatever the problem, almost any solution requires a minimum of funding to pull it through and the human resources to implement it, but regretfully the funds are not always as easily accessible as the solution itself. So why then, do most of us simply wait for the big catastrophes to appear before we react? Have we become so dependent on the mass media’s powerful monopoly to move us? Are we still capable of practicing those small, everyday actions of solidarity towards each other, making a real difference in the lives of those touched by our actions? We think so........
......and that was Gregory's reason for starting this new and special group, in the hope of discovering the hidden potential for social change in the Flickr community and moving these mountains together so that everyone’s a changemaker.