Coming through

Posted November 07

We're only just beginning to emerge from the organised chaos of our amazingly successful crowdfunding campaign. 

After years of struggling to get 'The Human, Earth Project' the attention and funding it needs, the outpouring of support over the past two months, and particularly in this past week, has been simply overwhelming. 

I'd like to thank each of you who has helped make this a reality: your support makes a real difference. It's amazing to see our message coming through, and all of you coming through to support it. 

There were a lot of long days (and nights) on little sleep, and a lot of great successes. 

Last Tuesday, I shared part of my story to Imgur, and the response was absolutely phenomenal: not only did the post go straight to the top of the front page, spent the whole day in #1 position and was awarded Post of the Day, but within 24 hours it had become Imgur's #42 most popular post of ALL TIME. 

The next day I followed up with an AMA ('Ask Me Anything') session on Reddit, which went to the top of the front page there, too! 

By the time the campaign reached its target last Wednesday, I was in bed with a raging fever, and received the news second-hand. But the contributions didn't stop once they reached the target: 2,296 of you gave a total of $67,000, taking us to an incredible 120% of our goal. 

We received funds from 67 countries on six continents, from Brunei to Brazil, Georgia to The Gambia, Hong Kong to Honduras, Iceland to India, Sweden to Saudi Arabia.

With the funds raised, I'll be able to finish 'Sisters For Sale', our feature documentary to raise awareness of the global human trafficking crisis, and ETHOS will launch a human trafficking prevention program to help protect vulnerable girls in 13 high-risk villages of northern Vietnam. 

These funds are crucial to our work: but this campaign was about so much more than just money. 

We've now proved we have the power to reach people on a personal level, to change the way they see their world, and inspire widespread action to make a very real difference in the world. 

In the past two months, we've reached over 1.5 million people via Imgur alone, many of whom were completely unaware of the issue. The discussions we've sparked have run to thousands of comments on both Imgur and Reddit. 

It hasn't all been roses though - the past two months have been so long and exhausting, they seem like far longer than just two months. Between the great successes were plenty of failures that nobody saw, and I'd like to thank everyone who helped us overcome the challenges we've faced. 

This campaign would have been absolutely impossible without Simone Casu, whose dedication and perseverance were second to none. Simone handled all the work behind the scenes and held everything together. 

Simone was assisted with graphic design and social media support by Claire Bannerman-Mott, Thristina Kanka and Wei Yoong Ng. 

I want to thank Joseph Chang (Cello Joe), Konstantin Jagoulis (Kosma Solarius), Rami Shaafi, Soliloquist, Michael Taylor and Chris Tenz for their music as featured in 'Sisters For Sale'. 

Chris Tenz's widow Jess Edwards and close friend Frederik Voss graciously permitted the use of Chris' hauntingly beautiful music to further our cause, and it's been great to see Chris' work reach a new audience. Some of you have written to say how much you love it. 

As a special incentive for sharing our campaign, we were able to offer the experience of a lifetime to one lucky person - a month living amongst the hilltribes of northern Vietnam, including all meals and accommodation. 

The prize has been won by the phenomenal Myste Laquinta from Pennsylvania. 

Not only was Myste's Imgur post directly responsible for over $7,500 in contributions, Myste then spent time helping us understand how best to approach both Imgur and Reddit, which was crucial to the success of the campaign. 

Although Myste has been reluctant to claim the prize due to other commitments, nobody deserves it more. 

I want to thank everyone who has supported the campaign, from those of you who have been following my work for years, to those who have only just become aware of it. 

A special mention to my family, to the Imgur and Reddit communities, and to our youngest supporter, Finn Michael James Hunter Taylor. 

Also to Jimmie, because the moral support matters just as much as the money, and Jimmie's the kind of guy you want in your corner.

Those of you who contributed should all have received thank-you emails with links to various goodies. Some of you left incorrect email addresses and can't be contacted - please get in touch! 

We're now working to update the thank-you list here on our website. Unless you've chosen to remain anonymous, your name should appear there by the end of this week. 

Anyone who gave $100 or more is eligible for photographic prints from our galleries. We'd love to get those sent out to you as soon as possible, so if you'd like some, please let us know your favourites!

Over the coming weeks, we'll be organising some of the other rewards, including thank-you photos and videos for our higher contributors, Chris Tenz's albums and the exclusive story of a narrow escape from abduction for those who contributed twice, and oatmeal cookies for those who chipped in tree-fiddy! :) 

With so much last-minute support coming in, we've chosen to leave the campaign open a little longer, giving you a last chance to contribute and get a sneak peek at 'Sisters For Sale' before it is taken down. 

This campaign gave me a good opportunity to discuss some important aspects of the human trafficking crisis on my blog - the custom of marriage by abduction, the challenges facing Hmong women in Vietnam, the ways in which girls are betrayedstolen and sold, and the Chinese 'one-child' policy

There were other things I'd hoped to write about and didn't get yet get a chance, including some of the amazing individuals and organisations fighting human trafficking, and some of the fantastic people involved in this project. 

When we've wrapped up all the loose ends from the fundraising campaign, I'll be excited to get back into the edit suite and get 'Sisters For Sale' finished! 

To keep up with the news on 'Sisters For Sale' and our human trafficking prevention program, subscribe here.  

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