Author - Steven Harper

About Steven Harper

He's a foodie, which he considers a bit of a bane each time he steps on the weighing scale. We often eat his share of dessert to help him out, and we just can't understand why he gets mad at us instead of being grateful.

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

Your Crowdfunding ABCs

crowdfunding

Here are the very basic basics of crowdfunding, deconstructed to its ABCs.

Here’s a quick question for you – have you ever posted a question on Facebook hoping to get information, advice, ideas, funds or any other kind of help from your friends? If your answer is ‘yes’ on any of these counts, you, my friend, have indulged in what the cool kids call ‘crowdsourcing’.

Although the term sounds technical and business-y, the concept is not. You’ve been doing the deed without really realising there’s an honest-to-goodness word that describes it to the letter. We’ve been turning to the ‘crowd’ to ‘source’ things for a long time.

Don’t believe it? What do you think Wikipedia does when it asks the online community to pitch in and write or edit information? Aha! There you go.

You may have noticed the examples being used all involve online platforms. That’s because they are the ideal base to source with. Think of it – a single platform that lets you instantaneously reach out to multiple people and get a speedy response. Perfect, no?!

When you’re reaching out specifically to source funds, the process is known as crowdfunding, which is what our website is all about. But of course, it’s not incorrect to call what we do crowdsourcing, so you’re welcome to alternate between the terms as you please.

Our online fundraising platform is where all the cool crowdsourcing campaigns are.

Why are the crowdsourcing campaigns cool?

Because they’re aiming to raise funds to do some amazing work in the field of social causes. And because they’re also aiming to fuel some incredible and ingenious creative projects.

Why is our website ideal to fundraise these incredible initiatives?
  • How shall we count the ways?! The many, many ways!
  • Well, firstly, starting a campaign on our platform is free.
  • There are no penalties for not being able to reach your fundraising goal.
  • We will guide your campaign creation and be with you every step of the way.
  • We provide you with a host of inexpensive marketing tips that are guaranteed to help you campaign successfully.
  • You receive updates, at each stage, right in your inbox.
  • We have an instant chatting interface on our website where you can reach us around the clock – 24/7.
  • We have a team of experienced professionals who are happy to help.
  • We offer your supporters several methods to contribute to your campaign.
How do you start a campaign?
  • It’s easy. Fill up the form on our website and submit it
  • We’ll make sure you’ve got all the bases covered and push it live
  • We’ll help and encourage you every step of the way
It’s as simple as that! Now you know your ABCs. Next time won’t you start a crowdsourcing campaign on our online fundraising platform with me?!

 

7 Things To Know About Leprosy

leprosy

Here’s everything you need to know about Hansen’s Disease, a.k.a. Leprosy, in time for World Leprosy Day on 25th January (also observed on 30th January in India).

What is leprosy?

Leprosy – also known as Hansen’s Disease – is a disease caused by a bacteria that affects the skin and nerves of the limbs, face and even the eyes, gradually killing sensation in the affected area. So, for instance, if an affected person were to touch a hot stove unawares, they would not realise that they have burned their hand. The wound caused by this accident would most probably get infected over time and lead to more complications like permanent deformities and related disabilities.

Is it contagious?

Leprosy is not as infectious as a cold but can be caught in the same manner. If there is repeated contact with an infected person, through droplets emitted from the nose or mouth, leprosy can be transmitted to you. It incubates for up to 5 years and may take up to 20 years to show symptoms.

Is it curable?

Yes! Once detected, it can be treated and cured. Early detection works best to avoid complications such as infections and deformities. So if you live in an endemic area, get a check-up.

Is leprosy found in India?

Unfortunately, yes. Leprosy in India can be traced back to as far as 2000 BC. Today, India accounts for 54% of leprosy cases in the world. A saddening 10% of these cases are seen among children. The disease occurs the most in poverty-stricken areas.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

Pale patches of skin are the earliest visible signs of leprosy. Because they don’t itch, people often don’t get them checked. These patches then develop into bumps and sores, with a gradual numbing of the area, which then leads to deformities and worse.

What are the effects of leprosy?

Besides the physiological effects, possible deformities and resulting disabilities, there are psychological effects to leprosy that need to be dealt with as well. Although the disease is curable and not half as infectious as the common cold, the social stigma attached to it can be debilitating for an individual. Those having the disease are often outcast from society and end up leading lonely, severely marginalised lives.

Shockingly, discrimination against leprosy is ingrained not just in the Indian psyche but within our legal system as well. Although the Leprosy Act of 1898 was made to protect those affected by the disease, discrimination still runs rife through our legal system. Some states have laws preventing those with leprosy from getting a driver’s license, and some hold the discovery or contracting of leprosy as legal grounds for divorce. Things like travelling by train are also off limits for leprosy patients in some states.

What can we do?

Imagine how difficult it must be for those dealing with leprosy to also face discrimination in daily life. Imagine having an amputated foot, using crutches and not being allowed to use the local train. Imagine being turned away from shops and restaurants and asked to vacate public spaces just because you have a visible disease. Imagine being treated as an untouchable.

In the 21st century, it is shameful that this situation actually exists. We need to eradicate the situation and the disease. One way to do this is to help raise awareness about the disease. Another way to do this is to raise funds to help those dealing with leprosy.

You can be the change our society needs by starting a campaign like Raja did for Madurai Health and Leprosy Relief Centre. Or for Damien Foundation, an NGO that works to eradicate leprosy and tuberculosis.

Get started now!

 

Awareness is Key (Lung Cancer Awareness Month)

Visible lungs and heart image for Lung Cancer Awareness Month

To a lot of literary folk, November is National Novel Writing Month, a month where amateurs and professionals write an entire novel within the span of a month. Thanks to technology, November is also National Blog Posting Month, which requires participants to write a post every single day of November.

These literary artists can easily be pictured hard at work at their desks. Desks that are often cluttered with cups of coffee and cigarette butts. That’s the quintessential image of a creative artist. Which brings us to the fact that November is also Lung Cancer Month. Lung cancer – a disease often caused by cigarette smoking.

Yes, you know where we are headed, but we promise not to preach. We only hope to raise awareness and offer a helping hand. So we are sharing a few facts about lung cancer and its related issues.

The Small Things

First, smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer. Being a cancer, it has a host of causes that we know of and yet several to be confirmed and discovered. Here is what we do know (minus the complicated sciency talk):

  • Tobacco, cigarette and pipe smoking – all increase chances of cancer
  • Passive smoking too
  • Symptoms include long-lasting cough, a cough that keeps getting worse, repetitive respiratory infections (like pneumonia and bronchitis), shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain and coughing blood
  • It is not uncommon to have none of these symptoms when diagnosed with lung cancer. If you’re concerned, get checked by your GP
  • Exercising helps circulate blood better, improves overall immunity and fights cancer growth
  • Green tea has properties that fight cancer cells
  • Eating more fruits, dark green veggies (like lettuce and even cabbage) are gooood
  • Turmeric is your secret weapon
  • Water is wonderful. Drink up!
  • Beans are queens
The Big Gesture
  • Leading a healthier lifestyle by eating healthier and exercising is a great way to keep lung cancer – and any cancer – at bay. Another way to fight lung cancer is to quit smoking. (Not preaching. Not judging. Just stating a fact.) So here are tips to help you work towards that ultimate goal:
  • Have a good reason to quit. You need to really want to quit to carry it off. It needs to mean a lot to you to give you that motivation and will power. Example, if you have kids and don’t want passive smoking to harm them. Or if the idea of having to undergo chemotherapy scares you
  • Counselling can help. Telling friends and family about your plan to quit will help too. Their encouragement and the professional help of a counsellor makes for good support
  • Going cold turkey is not a good idea. Smoking is a physical, psychological and chemical addiction. It needs a gradual cessation to work, so you can manage the withdrawal symptoms
  • Visit your doctor. Get pills to manage the physical withdrawal that your body will experience. Nicotine patches and lozenges are also a good idea
  • Use mind tricks! Often, a smoking habit is paired with an activity like drinking or clubbing, to avoid anything that triggers the urge to smoke. You may have to change your lifestyle a bit and avoid your smoke buddies initially. You can hang out with them again at a later stage.
  • Use more mind tricks! Whitewash your house so it doesn’t smell like a smoker’s apartment. Wash clothes sheets and tablecloths that smell of smoke, send curtains and carpets to the drycleaner. Get rid of the past and start afresh!
  • It’s okay if you relapse. It’s normal, actually. It takes a few tries before you’re able to kick the habit entirely, since it’s such a strong addiction.
  • Exercise! It’ll help you deal with weight gain from quitting and will keep you fit. Even an evening stroll is great.
  • With the latest move by India to deter smokers by not just making cigarettes more expensive, but attempting to ban the sale of loose cigarettes, making it more expensive for smokers to feed their habit, your kicking the habit will be that much sweeter for you. use the money you save to reward yourself for your willpower and adherence to a healthier life.

Salud!

Have a story about the time you tried to quit smoking? Share it with us in the comments below!

Want to raise awareness about the cause? Start campaigning here!

Hello! Namaste! Asalaamu Alaykum! (World Hello Day)

Cute cartoon image of bird tweeting hello for World Hello Day

Tomorrow is World Hello Day , but we just couldn’t wait to say ‘hello!’ 

There is such a thing as World Hello Day and it is in its 42nd year of existence! Celebrated each 21st November, it was created by two brothers, Brian and Michael McCormack, both graduates – the former from Arizona State University and the latter from Harvard University. Hello Day was born in reaction to the Egypt-Israel conflict, to highlight the importance of communication in preservation of peace.

What the brothers did was to write to leaders of the world and other influential figures, telling them about their idea and asking them to join in the effort to raise awareness about their initiative, in the hope of spreading goodwill and peace. (Sounds familiar? Isn’t it like sharing information about a campaign for a cause and asking for support?!)

The wonderful thing is that these world leaders made time in their busy schedules to respond. World Hello Day had 25 countries observing it when it debuted. And the number has climbed since. Today, at least 179 countries have celebrated the day in small or big ways. (Yes, reaching out to your supporters would get you responses as well!)

Visit the World Hello Day website and you can view some of the letters the founders received from world leaders, Nobel Prize winners, authors, thespians and others. You can read letters from Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Prince Rainier and more.

Anyone can participate in the movement by extending a simple ‘hello’ to ten people. If you’d like to do more, you can go further than just a cheery hello. Look back into your past. Is there someone in your life with whom you had a falling out and have severed communication? Why not extend an olive branch to them in reconciliation?

We understand this is not a simple thing to do. But if you’re up to it and feel enough time has elapsed, to be able to leave the past in the past and start afresh, this is a wonderful way and a wonderful day to initiate the gesture, to forgive and be forgiven.

Why wait till 21st November? Say ‘hello’ today!

Share with us your World Hello Day experiences in the comments below!

Start your own initiative for change!

 

The Good of Doing Good (Health Benefits of Giving)

Health benefits of giving

Giving is good for you. It’s not just Ketto saying it. Scientists say it too. And this knowledgeable bunch comes armed with scientific proof. After loads of research and consistently proven studies, scientists confirm that leading an altruistic life is good for your health.

Giving brings happiness 

This is a simple truth we are all aware of. An act of kindness or generosity brings happiness to everyone involved – the giver and the receiver of the act. The receiver, for obvious reasons, is happy to be helped. But the giver stands to gain as well. That warm glow you feel when you do something charitable for someone isn’t just a vague, unquantifiable emotion. Your selfless act triggers a chemical reaction within your body. What happens on your voluntarily doing something good is that the pleasure centre of your brain gets triggered, releasing hormones called endorphins which make you feel happily ‘high’. Therefore, being charitable is so potent, it gives you a biological high. And here’s another fun fact – this ‘helper’s high’ is addictive. So it’s pretty much a given that if you start a fundraiser on Ketto, the feel-good factor of helping those in need will have you hooked. It’s not us saying it – it’s science!

Giving reduces stress

Being charitable helps keep the stress hormone cortisol in check. How so? The act of selfishness and any guilt or shame that comes along with the act, begins to create a state of stress. This in turn causes over-secretion of the hormone cortisol which is harmful to our bodies in high levels. Moral of the story – if you feel a twinge of guilt on thinking of not giving to a campaign, immediately click ‘Contribute’ and save yourself some unnecessary stress. And enjoy the high!

Giving increases your life-span

You read correctly. An act of charity can help you live longer. The scientific reasoning is straightforward. Stress is bad for your health. And being charitable staves off stress. In our fast-paced world, anything that helps reduces stress levels is a boon, especially since it equates to a longer, healthier life. Therefore, giving is a blessing for the giver and the receiver. From the research of scientists, folks! Charity is so good for you, it gives you a longer life!

Giving nurtures mental health

Giving not only results in physical health but mental health as well. Donating to charity, volunteering for a social cause, even little things like helping someone cross the street, make you feel good which increases your self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem is a good thing. Another aspect of this is the social connections you might make during your act of kindness. That is, the people with whom you foster relationships with – the campaigner you supported, the old-age home you volunteered at, etc. Fostering relationships through your life nurture your mental health. Therefore, once again, giving and volunteering has you gaining quite a lot!

Giving begets giving

When you do something good for someone, it sparks a chain reaction of goodness. Your act of generosity is the good kind of contagious. Your one act affects the greater good of our society and our world. So there you go, you truly can make a positive impact on the world.

Want to get going? Start a campaign now!