Nkosi’s Haven discovers the power of Twitter

Contrary to what many people think, Nkosi’s Haven needs all the help it can get.  On the 1st of June 2001 (International Children’s Day) a little boy with a big legacy passed away. His name was Nkosi Johnson and he was a young AIDS activist. 10 years after his death Nkosi’s Haven is taking care of countless orphans and mothers and keeping his dream alive.

Nkosi’s Haven provides residential care for destitute HIV positive mothers and children, whether they are HIV positive or not and not many of us realise the assistance that Nkosi’s mother, Gail Johnson and the haven needs.

Jodene Shaer, a social influencer and blogger and the founder of the Twitter hashtag #FollowSA is using the social media platforms to spread the word about the food that is currently needed at Nkosi’s Haven. After a successful food drive this past weekend (on the 3rd of December 2011) the Twitter community who follow the #FollowSA Twitter, wanted to give more. The dry food collection has been extended for the duration of this week. The week ends with Tweetups across Gauteng on Saturday the 10th of December 2011.

Using the hashtag #FollowSA  Jodene sent out a call to all her followers on her site. For those of you who didn’t know, a hashtag is a search function that enables Twitter users to link their posts and network easily. Even though she conceived the idea of Follow SA, it really is for the whole of the country to use it to drive positive change. FollowSA unites people online and motivates them to create communities offline. This past weekend’s get-together was held at the Indulgence Cafe (courtesy of local resident Mandi Friedman).

According to a Nkosi’s Haven spokesperson (Tiny Koen) there are approximately 2.5 million orphans in South Africa and the number is growing exponentially. With the meltdown of the international financial markets, the overseas donor community is tightening the purse strings and non-governmental organisations were watching pennies very carefully.  Nkosi’s Haven are spending up to R90,000 on food each month. Nkosi’s Haven does have its own little farm, bordering on Orange Farm, but it only generates 30% of their needs. They were going to farm commercially with chickens but cheap imports are playing havoc with the local market, but they are looking at hydroponics to boost their production. With a major funder moving out of Africa at the end of 2012 it was time for Nkosi’s Haven to look at other funding models.  If 20 000 people donated only R50 a month, that would take care of their education needs.

To date the food drive has generated over 150 items of food and has been spoken about across online newspapers, blogs and local radio stations.  Jodene Shaer is confident that the Twitter community, who have livened up Facebook with notifications of drop off points and mini Tweetups, will collect enough food to put a smile on everyone’s faces at Nkosi’s Haven.

Drop off points and contacts:

#FollowSA and Nkosi’s Haven would like to thank the following individuals and companies for their assistance:

Johannesburg North West: Indulgence Cafe, 225 Beyers Naude Drive, Northcliff. Food drop off point throughout the week and Tweetup for final on collection

Johannesburg South: Please Tweet @gabbibrondani to organise drop off’s throughout the week. Gabbi will then be bringing all food to the central point at Indulgence Cafe.

Johannesburg North: Please Tweet @jodenecoza to organise drop off’s throughout the week. Jodene will then be bringing all food to the central point at Indulgence Cafe.

Pretoria: Please Tweet @ActivationMedia  / @BaasDeBeer / @TyronLSA / @RuanHaHa / @BraaiBoy to organize drop-offs during this week. Drop Off Points at Aandklas Hatfield and News Cafe Centurion. Final collection point at News Cafe Centurion on Saturday from 10 AM.

For more info follow the #FollowSA Hashtag on Twitter or contact Jodene on 082 7817570 or via e-mail at Jodene@lifeology.biz.

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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