Friday, September 25, 2015

How can you start fundraising for Ripples Foundation?

Ripples Foundation is currently fundraising online using Total Giving and Causes, and there are plenty of ways that you can help us. We chose two different online platforms as we felt they offered you different ways of supporting us, and helped us to connect with our supporters from all over the world, from America to Europe to Africa.
Causes is an American website that only 501 (c) registered charities can fundraise on. Every donation is counted in dollars, making it ideal for any US based fundraisers out there! Causes lets you chose stickers to show what you are passionate about, whether it’s animal rights, gun control or even women's empowerment!

Total Giving is a similar British website that has most of the same features as Causes, and is a fundraising platform for hundreds of UK charities. Although donations on Total Giving are recorded in British Pound Sterling, donations can be made from all over the world using your respective currency, anything from the Euro to the Indian Rupee! Unlike Causes, you do not have to make an account to be able to donate to a charity.

So how can you use these two platforms to support Ripples Foundation?

1. Join our fundraising community

Causes is a place where like-minded people can get together and push for change together, which is why we use the website to fundraise. We need more people like yourself to join us on Causes and help promote our campaigns. Joining Causes is easy, simply go to and click ‘Join’, where you will be prompted to enter your name, email address, and chose what causes you are interested in supporting. Your profile is customisable and you can upload profile pictures and cover photos to personalise your page.

2. Donate

Both Causes and Total Giving allow you to donate to Ripples Foundation, and it’s so easy! Simply go to our fundraising page on one of the sites, click on the donate button and follow the steps provided. Please bear in mind that in order to donate to us on Causes, you will have to first register and make an account.
Donations given on Total Giving do not have to be one-offs, you can set up a direct debit to enable monthly, quarterly or yearly giving if you so wish. Please note that on Total Giving, Ripples Foundation is listed as BME Concern.

3. Pledge your support

Causes isn’t just a place where you can donate money, it’s about building online communities that can come together to support a cause that they all care about. Causes started its life as a Facebook app, so the fundraising pages are setup like a social media page, where you can post updates and share photos and videos with your supporters. Just as you can ‘like’ pages on Facebook, you can also pledge your support to a cause to show you care; just go to a campaigner’s page and click the ‘support’ button. Causes also lets you share links to fundraising pages on your social networks, great for helping us spread the world of our work!

4. Start your own fundraising page

You can even start your own fundraising page on Causes for Ripples Foundation if you have planned a fundraising event yourself. Let’s say you wanted to run a marathon to raise money, all you’d have to do is click on the ‘campaigns’ button on the page menu, select ‘Start a new campaign’,  and chose the option that says ‘Donating to a US-based 501 (c)(3) or 501 (c)(4) organization.’ At this point you will be able to chose from a list of all the charities that are currently registered on Causes, so keep scrolling until you see Ripples Foundation! Your profile is customisable; you can upload profile pictures and cover photos to personalise your page, and add updates as your campaign goes on, using photos, videos and articles to update your supporters on your progress. Once you have reached your target, you can release a victory update for everyone to see as a way of celebrating a successful campaign.

Just like on Causes, you can start up your own fundraising page to raise money for Ripples Foundation on Total Giving. Just go to and click ‘Charity Crowdfunding - Get Started’, where you will be prompted to choose what charity you want to fundraise for. On Total Giving, Ripples Foundation is registered under the name BME Concern; due to our recent name change we are still registered with the UK Charity Commission as BME Concern until our details are updated.
Upload your own photos and videos to go alongside your efforts to make your page as fresh and exciting as possible to encourage people to donate to your campaign.

So what are you waiting for?

Take a look at what you can do to empower women using Causes or Total Giving soon! One step at a time we can make change happen.

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Remembering the impact of rugby in South Africa

Tonight sees the start of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with England preparing to square off against Fiji at Twickenham at 8 o'clock. Over the next 6 weeks, 20 teams will be competing for the prestigious trophy, culminating in the final match on 31st October. European teams such as England, Ireland and France have a long history with rugby, but how what effect has the game had on the African teams? 

Only 2 of the teams that qualified are from Africa: South Africa and Namibia. South Africa are well known as a force to be reckoned with in the rugby world, and the Springboks have won the World Cup twice, in both 1995 and 2007. They are currently ranked the third in the world, only behind New Zealand and Australia. As well as being a great game to watch, rugby's popularity had a momentous effect 20 years ago in post-apartheid South Africa during the 1995 tournament, as anyone who has seen the brilliant 2009 film Invictus will know. It is the International Day of Peace on Monday (21st September), which seems like an apt time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the most defining moments in the history of rugby.

Rugby has been popular in South Africa since the 19th century when the colonial British brought the game there, but was seen exclusively as a sport for rich white Afrikaners by the native black South Africans, which the apartheid helped to exacerbate. In 1981 the country's team, the Springboks, were banned from playing international rugby until such a time when apartheid was ended. Apartheid was abolished in 1994, and Nelson Mandela became the country’s first ever black President 4 years after his release from prison. At this time South Africa was still a country divided by racial tension, and rugby was still seen as a white man's sport. Black South Africans would often cheer on the opposition in favour of the Springboks, as the emblem was seen as a symbol of the apartheid. Nelson Mandela realised this when he became President, and made it his mission to unite the people of South Africa through rugby. 

The initial reaction to the idea of the whole country getting behind the Springboks seemed alien to many, but the quiet dignity of their President who had wrongly spent 27 years of his life in prison inspired his people. Nelson Mandela had every right to want revenge of the white Afrikaners who had discriminated against him all his life, but instead he demanded peace: not more conflict. This attitude spread throughout the country, and as the Springboks made it further and further through the competition the feeling in South Africa was electric.

Francois Pienaar, the white Afrikaner captain of the Springboks at the time, described how the mood of the whole country changed during that tournament: 
 “In six weeks, I saw the country change. At our hotel in Cape Town, the lady who checked us in was wearing a Springbok jumper. The gentleman who served us breakfast would say we must eat because we needed to be strong. The morning of the final [in Johannesburg], we went for a run, and four black kids selling newspapers chased after us, shouting the names of the players. After the match, when an interviewer asked me how it felt to win in front of 65,000 people, I replied, “We didn't have 65,000. We had 43 million.” 

When the Springboks eventually defeated New Zealand in the World Cup final in Johannesburg on the 24th June 1995, Nelson Mandela made a point of wearing the Springboks jersey whilst presenting the trophy to Francois Pienaar. The photo above captured that historic moment, and became a defining image of racial unity in post-apartheid South Africa. 

In the grand scheme of things, sport isn't exactly the most important thing in the world. However it does have the power to unite communities to support a common cause, and in South Africa's case, start to mend a fractured country. As Mandela himself said: 
"Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination."
So let's get behind our teams in the coming weeks and have another tournament to remember!

Top photo from:
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, September 11, 2015

6 bizarre and unusual customs from different cultures in Africa

In the UK we lead quite a sheltered life, with not too many rites of passage or traditions to stick to in our lives apart from perhaps weddings, christenings and funerals. However we know from our work in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana that Africa is a huge continent filled with thousands of communities that each have their own way of living, and hundreds of completely different cultures can be found in just one country.

We decided to see if we could find what we thought were the most bizarre and unusual traditions from Africa, and what follows is what we found! Feel free to comment below if you know of any more.

1. Lobola is a custom in Southern Africa where the groom has to pay the father-of-the bride in order to compensate for the 'loss' of the man’s daughter.

2. Members of the Maasai tribe in Kenya and Tanzania spit on newborn babies, in the belief that if they praise a baby it will be cursed.

3. In the Ethiopian Hamer tribe, young boys must jump over and run over the backs of bulls in order to prove their manhood.

4. Male children in the Songo tribe from North Angola are sent to live with an uncle on their mother’s side to be raised as his son when they reach the age of 5, as chiefs inherit their position through the maternal line.

5. Some Mauritanians associate being fat with being rich. But it’s not the fatness of the man, it’s his wife’s. Mothers take their daughters tofat farms’, as they believe that the fatter a woman is, the richer her husband will be.

6. In Sudan, the Latuka tribe has a tradition that when a man wants to marry a woman - he kidnaps her! 

Sources of facts and photos:
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

We have reached 2,000 views!

Today has seen this blog reach 2,000 views, a huge achievement for us! Thank you to everyone who has been following our posts for the last 4 months, and we hope you will continue to follow us as we go forward and create more interesting stories for you to enjoy.

You are helping us make change happen!
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Where is our humanity?

There’s only one topic on the lips of Europeans this week. Over the last few months we have seen a huge number of people attempting to cross into Europe, but in the past week the crisis seems to have been exemplified. By now we have all seen the truly tragic photo of 3 year Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi laying dead on a Turkish beach, who drowned alongside his 5 year old brother and mother when trying to reach the Greek Island of Kos. You can see the reactions from cartoonists pictured above and below that have perfectly captured the heartbreak and hopelessness of the situation. The photo has now become the catalyst for a huge outpouring of distress from the media, but what are our governments doing to stop this all from happening?

No one can deny the horror we all felt when seeing this photo, but unfortunately Aylan is just 1 of over 2,500 people that have lost their lives this year alone making the perilous crossing across the Mediterranean. We are currently living in a time where we are seeing the biggest wave of migration since World War 2, and no-one seems to have a clue how to handle it. 

Here in the UK, our Prime Minister refuses to increase the amount of refugees allowed to cross our borders. This attitude from a majority of politicians is so disheartening. It is so easy to make statements about a situation when you are so far removed from it, and can hardly imagine the lives of these people. Back in the 1940's, European countries took in a large number of Jewish refugees who were fleeing from Nazi occupation, so we are no strangers to migration. Europe needs to find its humanity again.

Lets say that you live in a normal town in England. What if you suddenly found yourself under siege from terrorists or war, members of your family were killed in front of you and you had no other choice but to flee. After weeks of travelling, you reach the channel tunnel and prepare to find sanctuary in France. But when you get to the border, you find that they are letting no-one through. How would you feel? Where would you go?
A lot of people suggest that the only reason people are travelling to Europe is to claim benefits and milk our welfare system. Just look at the photo of little Aylan. No parent is prepared to risk their child's life unless they really have nothing else to lose. They are in the water because it seemed safer to them than being on land.

David Cameroon has said that letting refugees stay in Europe is not the answer, and that we need to address the root causes of this crisis. Whilst this assessment is logical, this crisis is not going to be solved in the next few days, months or even years. What are we going to do about the thousands of people who are begging for our help right now? All we seem to be doing is putting up higher fences, closing our borders and just allowing people to die on our shores day after day. The big questions that the government are focusing on seems to be what countries are taking in the most people, how many are camped at Calais and how much is this going to cost us?

Whilst politicians stall and focus on numbers and statistics, the general public seems to have woken up to the tragedy in the past few days. When Iceland announced it would only be taking 50 refugees into the country, the Icelandic people responded with a social media campaign pleading with their government to be more caring. Families offered up their homes to orphaned children and thousands signed a petition to show the government that they could do more. Germany and Sweden are leading the way in showing compassion and providing aid in Europe, with Germany planning to open its borders to 800,000 people by the end of the year, and Sweden providing every Syrian refugee with automatic residency.

This attitude has now started to spread over the rest of Europe. In the UK, 146,000 people have signed a petition for David Cameroon to accept more refugees into Britain: a matter which will now have to be discussed in the House of Commons in the next few days due to the sheer number of people behind it. There have been pro-refugee rallies in Vienna and Berlin, attended by thousands of people. Unfortunately there have also been shocking scenes of violence at Hungarian train stations, and Slovakia have said they will not be accepting any non-Christian refugees into their country because 'they would not feel at home.'

The time has come for Europe to step up. David Cameroon today finally bowed to overwhelming public pressure and announced plans to increase the number of refugees allowed into Britain to 4,000 - but only from refugee camps in Syria. Although a positive step forward, this is still not helping the thousands of refugees already in Europe. This crisis has been happening for months now, yet it only took one photo for the media and governments to finally show a shred of compassion. What other tragedies have to happen before we take proper action? Just think about what you would do if the tables were turned and you needed to seek asylum somewhere safe. You would want to be welcomed with kindness, not rejected from fear. We are all citizens of this earth, and every life is precious.

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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