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Infinite Family Celebrities make a difference


In light of the recent hoo-hah about celebrity adoptions, it’s rather baffling to try sort out who rent bleachersis right. There have been enough blogs on this subject, so I will decline to comment on my position. As an African, all I can say is that it is rather warming to see such positive attention being paid to Africa. People in the Western world and media are really driving positive changes and in the words of Bono ‘how wonderful it is to be the generation that can make a difference.’ From the Gap (Red) campaign, to the Mastercard Aids campaign, Aldo shoes Aids awareness and so many other instances of branded philanthropy, it is an inspiration to see so many companies waking up to the necessity of branded philanthropy.

Even the symbol of the continent of Africa has become somewhat reified in today’s media and is right up there in the realm of Cher and Mickey Mouse. Despite what all the cynics may say about celebrity involvement, I think that it is our duty to suspend our scepticism, lest we deter such influential people from bestowing their support on an entire continent in need. I think that passing proceeds along from products that Westerners buy every day is an excellent way of allowing people to contribute without requiring them to make too great a change from their lifestyle. In the words or the Red campaign

‘You make choices every day, from the clothes you wear to the music you play. Now making a choice means making a difference.’

So many young people feel frustrated at not being able to help the world, and I think that charities have the responsibility to make contribution easier than actually having to go out and join the Peace Corps.

Here are a few great ways to make a difference:
Run a marathon and get sponsorship from your friends. Many major marathons from the New York to the London Marathon and many in between allocate a certain number of spaces to people running for charity. Over here in London there are certain charities that have established partnerships with sky-diving companies, and if one is able to raise a certain amount of money through donations, the charity issues a credit to go sky-diving.

Once again, to quote Bono, what we call ‘charity’ doesn’t even fit the bill, because in most cases we’re ‘talking about justice.’ Quite simply it is not just that certain people should struggle to survive whilst others live in the lap of luxury. The key to this justice is not putting some small change in a rusty tin at the local bodega, but actual conscientious support. The charity I find to be the most inspiring is www.one.org, and I think that the more people who stand as one to make poverty history the better.

There is no doubt that with the proliferation of the Internet and the advent of the $100 laptop, with programs like Elance, Ebay, PayPal, Skype and so many others, as soon as Africa comes online we’re going to see a revolution. Quite recently I discovered a charity called ‘Infinite Family.’ This Charity enables families that live in surplus within the United States to interact with and provide support to orphans in South Africa using VOIP and e-mail. If one ponders the potential of programs like Skype in charity, then one sees the limitless potential for people in socially advantageous situations to reach out to people in disadvantaged communities. As the power of the internet grows, so to does our power as privileged people increase and enable us to make a huge difference to the lives of the people who most need it.

I urge you all to go check out www.InfiniteFamily.org and explore the possibility of becoming a Net Family. This weekend is their fundraiser, which has been sponsored by Madiba Restaurant, De Beers, Tall Horse Wines and Graham Beck. The event is set to be a great upscale occasion with African cuisine, musicians from the Paul Simon band and African wine all set in the fantastic locale of an upper west side loft. To add some sparkle to the evening, they will be selling Graham Beck Brut at $100 a glass, and in the bottom of one of the glasses one lucky participant will find a diamond from De Beers.

I feel lucky that we live in a world where people are willing to come up with such initiatives, and if we consider that this event is partly sponsored by Tall Horse and Graham Beck we can see yet another way that wine is changing the world.

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