Friday June 27 2014

Thanks social media users for giving hope

By Editorial

Little Kevin Kasumba may survive, thanks to the giving hearts of a network of Ugandan Facebook users. Little Kevin, 3, has a big hole in his heart and no pulmonary artery and doctors have given his mother only two weeks to raise Shs20m for the corrective surgery in India or Little Kevin dies. But Kevin may now just survive because Ugandans of kind hearts have dug deep into their pockets and chipped in more than Shs15m in only a few days to save his life.

However, the story of Little Kevin tells another attractive story of the great potential to which Ugandans have severally put to good use the power of social media, more specifically Facebook. Now Ms Josephine Nakiberu can smile because a network of friends of Maama Tendo Foundation on Facebook page has unlocked and opened up a new wide world of promise of seeing her son survive. The networks’ resolve that Little Kevin should not die and Ms Nakiberu be helped, shows what an online network of ordinary Ugandans can achieve.

Ms Nakiberu had exhausted contributions from her immediate family, friends, and well-wishers and raised only Shs3.59m. But the online campaign, boosted by Kfm’s hot seat talk show host Chris Obore and online network of friends, including MPs Betty Nambooze, and Sanjay Tanna, soon joined, put a smile on the face of Nakiberu , and gave Little Kevin hope to live again.

Soon more Ugandans of goodwill rushed to mobile money outlets to rescue Kevin. Now, the headache about the huge Shs17m deficit has been reduced to only Shs442, 974, thanks to the hearts of compassion who pulled in more than Shs15m in only 10 days.

This power of social media was once more shown when another Facebook user group of more than 5,000 people from Bunyoro sub-region raised millions of shillings for the planned Shs7m to build a new toilet for Masindi hospital’s out-patients department after the old one had collapsed. Besides, other social media networks have as well stepped up to fill the gaps where the central government and local councils have abdicated their duties and obligations.

The recent drive to feed Napak District, which raised Shs6.9m in two weeks and bought three tonnes of food is another success story. But these noble citizens’ efforts to save lives, create, and protect a clean and healthy environment must remain only complementary with both the State and citizens meeting their obligations. These efforts should challenge government to play its role in meeting citizens’ health needs.

Over all, the Facebook platform can be put to good use beyond plain social interactions. More especially celebrities should put their wide social network to such good use.
Little Kevin should survive. Let us keep sacrificing. Please direct assistance to Kevin’s mother on 0772460976.