Graduate back at it with Instagram initiative to raise funds amid coronavirus pandemic

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Mike Wright and his alter egos. (PHOTO: Facebook/MikeElHouseWright)
Mike Wright and his alter egos. (PHOTO: Facebook/MikeElHouseWright)

This graduate is raising funds during the coronavirus pandemic – using likes!

A recent journalism honours graduate from Stellenbosch University has taken it upon himself to raise funds for the Solidarity Fund – an initiative to support and aid those in need during the coronavirus pandemic with donations.

Mike Wright has taken on the challenge headfirst to raise funds through likes on his post on Instagram, which features brilliantly edited shots of himself poolside with himself.

“Jeepers. I was sitting at the pool yesterday with the alter egos and DJ Pure Euphoria, and we were just marvelling at how incredible the year of March was, how quickly social movements evolve these days, how fickle some aspects of life are,” he wrote alongside his post.

“1 like on this post = R1 to the @solidarityfund... Additionally, R2 rond per comment will go to @support.a.saffa,” he continued.

View this post on Instagram

Jeepers. I was sitting at the pool yesterday with the alter egos and DJ Pure Euphoria, and we were just marvelling at how incredible the year of March was, how quickly social movements evolve these days, how fickle some aspects of life are, and how @robbie_ball turned himself into a literal philanthropic spark plug for the engine that is generosity. As everyone has said over the last 3 days, well done Robbie. Your name will be synonymous with the words "great initiative" for the rest of my life; I am excited to take a page from your book now. This year in general, living alone with the mother and cat, has taught me how much I took varsity, education, daily comforts and having a mate in the room next to me for granted. Lockdown extended this learning of gratitude, with @jessmakesyourday harpooning back home to shake the environment up a bit. But while nuclear warfare breaks out every evening as a form of light household entertainment, I am extremely lucky to even have a mom and sister to be grumpy with… I also see the luxury of being able to roar back into my room, close the door and watch 6 hours of WWE highlights (on the internet) until my grumpiness subsides... I make sure to look at every micro-aspect of my life with gratitude; each tap on my laptop keyboard, each sip of nice coffee, each electric wheelspin in @mikesrunx, each 28kg hammer curl rep, each pellet of cat food that I inhale, each time I wake up in my bed. I see the underlying privilege that very few of us have… Must appreciate what you have, must look after what you have, but must also share what you can. 1 like on this post = R1 to the @solidarityfund. For more info on the fund visit https://www.solidarityfund.co.za . Additionally, R2 rond per comment will go to @support.a.saffa (thx 4 idea @amy_falconerrr). I also appreciate being able to write long, verbose captions that I know no one reads most of the time, so I will donate an extra R50 bok if Jemma Ellis reads this to the end and comments “done”. Thanks for the nomination @ruanknight - I nominate some close friends living oversees who I miss very much: @rossreeves8, @nick_slade_vdv and @lukehuddy. #SolidarityGratitude #SolidaritySA

A post shared by Mike Wright (@mikeyiswright) on

The social media initiative was kickstarted by Robbie Ball who was keen to spread some light amid these dark times.

Participants are nominated by someone and are encouraged to make charitable donations at a set monetary value for each like, and thereafter nominate friends and family.

Mike has played an integral part in getting the campaign off the ground.

“I was called by Robbie Ball who asked (me) whether I thought a ‘R1 per like’ post would be an effective method of raising money for the fund,” said Mike speaking to YOU.

“He was basing his idea on a post that I made in January in support of an anti-poaching unit and therefore sought my guidance. I proposed that he went through with the "R1 per like" style of post, but that he should also include a nomination at the bottom to feed on Instagram.”

Mike initiated a similar anti-poaching fundraiser earlier this year, which garnered more than 11 000 likes and for which he has raised more than R12 000 to date.

View this post on Instagram

Standing in a riverbed looking like a mixture between Faf de Klerk and Rambo, with the sun just glinting off The Snake (the name of the AK-47 in my hands), I simply cannot deny that this is an incredible picture; however, while incredible, I am so very nonchalantly posing with this specific equipment to raise a bit of awareness (and hopefully some funds). I stand with the gun that is normally gripped by a close friend of mine, and the vest that would hang from his shoulders.. a friend who has now committed his life to a mini (not so mini) war against poaching in South Africa. He has chosen to protect the bush and the animals that live in it, specifically rhinos. Sure, I am taking the piss by wearing a Budgy Smuggler (and I realise the irony of the name RE: animal smuggling), but I know that these items are carried by this particular friend everyday, and will one day save his life, and that me wearing his gear in this fashion would truly harpoon a riveting image into the eyes of the beholder. I have decided to support his team, his anti-poaching unit, by sending through R1 for every like this post gets. If the post somehow gets picked up by those outside of my following, leading to me being in a charitable debt of a million ronds, then I’d happily fundraise aggressively to achieve the target (so feel free to share). Additionally, if anyone else would like to donate to his team of whom directly protects the Balule area, and indirectly protects the surrounding Klaserie and greater Kruger areas due to natural animal migration, then please send me through a message and I’ll give you the relevant details needed to make an informed donation (probably through me). ?????? it seems as though it is safer to be known as a poacher amongst civilians in this country than an anti-poacher, so his exact unit and name will he kept private ?? the joys of organised crime. Power. ??: @jessmakesyourday https://www.backabuddy.co.za/mike-wright

A post shared by Mike Wright (@mikeyiswright) on

Although the Solidarity fund donations via social media and the initiative itself are all about sending out a positive message and creating cohesion, it has faced backlash on social media from naysayers.

“I was all for this 1 like = R1 initiative, but the more I think about it the more uncomfortable I get. Why do we have to publish this kind of donation, and why do I get the feeling so many people aren’t actually donating and don’t actually know what it’s about..?” Sarah Story wrote on Twitter.

Mike said he’s disappointed that the intentions of the challenge have been misconstrued.

“The challenge asked for people who aren’t battling as much as others to publicly announce what they’re most appreciative for as well as which things and activities they miss most during the lockdown,” he said.

“Then acknowledge just how insignificant these things are in comparison to how affected others are by poverty, job loss, financial struggle and hunger, and Covid-19 – the main point of the fund.

“While this challenge brought about a lot of positivity, and money, it also showed the fragility in this country.”

Source: Instagram, Twitter

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