Elise’s Operation Groundswell Volunteer Trip to Thailand!

Nils Birthday Hike

Nils Birthday Hike

“Over the past 10 years, I have seen many pictures and heard inspiring stories from families and friends who volunteered for underprivileged communities overseas. This sparked my interest in participating in a similar program. I have always enjoyed getting involved and volunteering within my own community. I am motivated by the ability to help others and am happiest when I can spread my energy and positive spirit onto those around me. I love to keep busy and work hard on projects that lead to tangible, visible results.

In 2016, I had the privilege of travelling to Nicaragua with a good friend. We spent 10 days backpacking through various cities and towns, experiencing a new culture, hiking up volcanoes, and learning about the rich local history. This experience caused me to fall in love with backpacking, but also demonstrated that so many countries around the world could use support. We are so privileged here in Canada, that it is easy to forget about the issues occurring worldwide. Since then, I have been looking for opportunities to backpack through new locations, soaking up new experiences and cultures, while finding ways to give back to the communities I visit.

Now in my final semester of Mechanical Engineering, I have been coming up with a plan of what to do after graduation. That is when I came across the organization Operations Groundswell; a non-profit, backpacking-style, volunteer-based organization that is dedicated to taking young adults outside of their comfort zones and into the wider world to explore, learn, and give back to communities in need. And then, to make things even better, I found their program called “Farm to Table”, in Thailand. Food is another very big passion of mine. I love to try new things, experiment with new recipes, and incorporate various cultures into each dish I create. Additionally, I am very concerned for the environment, and am always careful to eat in a sustainable manner while supporting local farmers.

Farm to Table with Operations Groundswell, incorporates all of my passions and provides me with a fantastic opportunity to help others while supporting a cause I care a lot about: sustainable farming practices. While getting my hands dirty volunteering on an organic farm, I will learn first-hand about alternative modes of food production.

Volunteering my time and efforts to the foundations and farms in Thailand will provide them temporary relief and bring a new positive energy among them. However, monetary support is also important for them. I am raising money to help organizations in Thailand such as The Mirror Foundation and Pun Pun Centre for Self Reliance; continue to help sustain their local economy and live more self-reliant lifestyles.”

Check out Elise’s crowdfunding campaign page below!

London’s First Crowdfunding Accelerator for Social Causes


An 8 Week Crowdfunding Bootcamp for charities, social entrepreneurs and individuals looking to raise their impact by running a successful crowdfunding campaign.


Apply Now


Are you looking to build and launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for your social cause and build a community who are emotionally and financially invested in its success?

We have partnered with the award-winning consultants at Crowdfund 360 to run a practical and highly interactive crowdfunding training program in London, for anyone interested in building and launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for their social cause and activate the benefits of this powerful marketing machine.

During the 8 Week Crowdfunding Accelerator Training, we will take you step by step through our crowdfunding success system, helping you make sense of the experience. We will help you bring your campaign to life by launching it with you at the end of the training and remaining by your side for the duration of your campaign (an additional 5 weeks tailored support).

Success Rates with us

The training will take place every Thursday morning at Impact Hub Brixton for 8 weeks, starting April 19th. Through a combination of masterclasses and one on one sessions, each week participants will receive guidance from our experts to get everything setup for their campaign.

This training includes, but is not limited to the following:

Content Flow

There are also two weeks reserved for peer feedback and expert 1:1 advice. By the end of this Accelerator, participants will be ready to launch their campaign on Chuffed.org. Throughout the duration of the participant’s crowdfunding campaign, the experts at Chuffed.org and Crowdfund 360 will provide ongoing tailored support.

When does the 8-Week Crowdfunding Accelerator commence?

Thursday April 19th, 9:30am – 1230pm (to continue every Thursday for 8 weeks)

When will my crowdfunding campaign go live?

Tuesday 12th June (to run for a period of 5 weeks with support from Crowdfund 360 and Chuffed.org)

What are the fees to take part?

  • Projects aiming to raise less than £5,000 will be charged a flat rate of £330
  • Projects aiming to raise between £5-10k will be charged £440
  • Projects aiming to raise between £10k-£20k will be charged £500
  • Projects aiming to raise over £20k will be charged £660
    *Apply by 1st March and receive 20% discount!
    *10% discounts for SSE fellows and Impact Hub members 
    **Payment plans available by request – email [email protected] to work out a plan that will work best for you

What is the qualifying criteria to take part?

We are looking for individuals with a social cause, charities, social enterprises or startups and other organisations who want to raise over £2,000 through crowdfunding and already have a project or idea in mind. Applicants need to be aware that raising funds is a time consuming process and must be willing to put in the time and work required. Candidates need to be available to attend the session held one morning a week (Thursdays) at Impact Hub Brixton, and will have the option to hot desk in the office space there for the remainder of the day.

When is the deadline for applications?

Spaces are limited, so we recommend applying as soon as possible. Deadline for applications is midnight on 27th March.

Apply Now



Questions? Email us at [email protected]

No Means No – Saving Young People from Rape Culture by Victoria

Victoria Porter

Victoria Porter

“On 21st January 2018  I returned from Kitengela, Kenya. This is a small village with slum land approximately one and a half to two hours outside the capital Nairobi. Having been an avid volunteer in Australia and just concluding my Diploma in Youth Work, I set out to visit a new nation and see where my skills could be of assistance for 6 short weeks.  When I arrived, I met Giselle a long time pen pal and fellow volunteer.

After two nights in the big city we were greeted by Networks for Voluntary Services Kenya staff and we set out to Kitengela to meet my new host mum Lucy, Agnes from Gihon Womens Empowerment Centre and Erin a past volunteer with a passion for sponsorship of children and families.

The next day we returned to the centre which offers hairdressing and sewing as well as healthy living and a variety of other classes for victims of domestic violence. These classes are held in the mornings and in the afternoons there are therapy sessions for people diagnosed with HIV.

While we were there we noticed that many of the women were hesitant to tell their children that they were carriers of the AIDS virus and so it was decided that as part of the school holiday program we would include a class on Sexual Health and HIV. The aim was to create a conversation and a safe space for the girls to approach their mothers and fathers about the topic.

What happened was completely unexpected!  Two of the girls came forward, one who was sick and another who was being sexually assaulted, by a family member.  We were shocked and had little avenue to help the girls but we knew we had to do something.

Giselle had previously heard of No Means No (an NGO teaching young people about puberty, rape culture and HIV. They also provide assistance to victims through school based counselling in partnership with safe house programs) and she had contacted the group hoping for their advice and assistance.  After visits to a number of schools, we choose Noonkopir as the pilot school. This was where our good friend and colleague Erin has been diligent in building additional classrooms and helping out in the special needs unit by changing nappies, feeding and teaching the kids.

We were very happy when Nancy the manager of No Means No agreed to help, we visited her and the team on a number of occasions to view their presentations and get an understanding about what the program involved.  Nancy agreed to use international grant money to fund 50% of the Kitengela program and in addition she donated a few extra teachers.

I am happy to say that this week we received the contracts from Nancy for implementation of the program into the Pioneer School curriculum. It will involve grades 5 – 8, starting in Term 2, 2018. With a favourable outcome No Means No will use the baseline study results to gain funding to implement the program into all the schools in the Kitengela area with any additional funding potentially being used to provide safe houses in the village.”

Check out Victoria’s crowdfunding campaign below:

Advocating for Chinese Orphans with Disabilities by Katy & Dustin

Katy & Dustin

Katy & Dustin

“In 2012 I travelled just outside of Beijing to Shepherds Field Children’s Village (SFCV), an orphanage for about 100 kids with disabilities, for a 3 week trip with a team of therapists.

At the time, I was still in undergrad with goals to pursue occupational therapy. After connecting with the children and aiyis (nannies) at SFCV I had one of those life-changing moments that spoke to the core of who I am. This is the place where my skills and a deep need intersect. I was determined to come back in the future with a degree and some experience to provide a greater service for a longer amount of time. I worked to finish 2 degrees and obtain a couple of years of experience in paediatric occupational therapy. Along the way, I met and fell in love with Dustin, a dreamy computer nerd. Very early in our relationship, I disclosed to Dustin that I was indeed moving to China someday. He was fully supportive of my dream and continued to cheer me on through grad school.

Fast forward several years, we are married now and have both been in our fields for a couple years soaking up as much information as possible. We are partnering for a year (maybe more) with Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village. I will be providing occupational therapy and Dustin will be managing all things IT (information technology) related. We will live on site and volunteer full time to help continue the impacting work SFCV does. SFCV focuses on the medical and therapy needs of special needs orphans. The campus has a medical clinic, therapy center, school, an inn for visitors, an office, and a vocational center.

We are self-funding our travel and living expenses. All of the money we raise through our crowdfunding campaign on Chuffed will go towards buying essential therapy and IT equipment like wheelchairs, feeding chairs, sensory items, and hardware/software.”

Learn more about this inspiring cause by checking out Katy’s crowdfunding campaign page below:

Helping Ruban walk again, by Shira



“I am a volunteer refugee advocate and writer. While I had long wanted to help refugees and asylum seekers, I wasn’t really sure how to get effectively involved — apart from having several articles published — and with the responsibility of a young family, didn’t think I had the time.

Everything changed in 2016 when I joined Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney (SASS): I decided to devote an afternoon each week, going out to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, as part of a group of volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life, to share food and speak with the asylum seekers detained there. All of a sudden, I was actually meeting the people about whom I had been reading for so long.

While emotionally confronting, it has been so rewarding to become involved — listening to their stories and providing support whenever I can. I am proud to call many of the asylum seekers and refugees I meet my friends, learning about their cultures and experiences. As individuals, we may be powerless to determine their fate, but we can treat our fellows with dignity, no matter their circumstances.

I have tried to find them lawyers, supported detainees in court when necessary, helped them with paperwork and with navigating our health system, and generally advocated for their rights.

For the past 18 months, I have also been supporting Vietnamese failed asylum seeker families, forcibly returned by Australia, several of whom have been punished in Vietnam. Last year, 18 of them, including 12 children, tried to flee Vietnam for Australia again, only for their boat to sink off the Indonesian coast. Rescued by Indonesian authorities, they have since been found to be refugees by the UNHCR and have just been released from Indonesian detention. We are currently advocating for a third country to resettle them. You can read more about their situation on my website or join our Facebook page.

While I have run several crowdfunding campaigns for the Vietnamese families, this is the first time I have run a campaign for an asylum seeker who experienced Australian detention before being returned to his country of origin. If it hadn’t been for his treatment in Australia, Ruban would not be in his current harsh situation, and so I believe I have a responsibility to help literally to get him back on his feet so that he can try to support his young family once more.”

Check out Shira’s crowdfunding campaign for Ruban below:

Click here to read more of Shira’s writing on her blog! 

Doubling the impact for Narayan Seva Children’s Home in Bali, by Bec

Bec Dash

Bec Dash

“From a young age I have been acutely aware that it is purely luck that led me to be born into a loving family and a wealthy country where we are granted education, freedom and the opportunity to make the best of this life. For as long as I can remember I have felt driven to somehow use the life I have been given to make a difference in the life of someone else.

It’s almost exactly 8 years since I first arrived at Narayan Seva Children’s Home in Bali. I was 21 and had recently returned from a 6 week study trip in Indonesia as part of my university studies. Bitterly disappointed with ‘normal life’ as I tried to readjust upon my return home, I felt it was time to do something real and meaningful with my time. I deferred from my degree, worked full time for 6 months and saved the money I needed for a self-funded volunteer (with a little travel) trip.

The home has grown from 44 to 85 children in the time that I have been travelling there, with children ranging in age from 18 months to 24 years, 12 of which are now studying at university! I have been incredibly inspired by the children themselves as well as the two amazing women who run the home. I have often been astounded at their ability to not only manage the daily tasks involved in keeping the home running, but at their tireless planning for what’s next.

In the years since I have known them, here are just some of the advancements they have made:

  • Created an organic fruit and vegetable garden for their own consumption and sale
  • Bought a water filter large enough to meet their daily drinking needs as well as to sell to local community
  • Introduced a biogas system that uses the waste from their septic tank to convert and tunnel gas to the kitchen cooktops
  • Built 3 new buildings to house the children, a tiled common area, a yoga/meditation hall and a new kitchen (which was previously a fire pit on a dirt floor!)

Every year that I return I hope to fund projects that would otherwise not be possible. This year we are focusing on education. So far the campaign has raised the course fees for two of the boys to complete their diplomas in IT as well as covering a full years living expenses for another boy who had to move on campus to complete his studies in Architecture (our last campaign raised the fees needed to pay his tertiary fees). With only a couple of weeks to go I am hopeful that we will be able to achieve even more with last minute donations. Narayan Seva has captured my heart and I will forever do what I can to assist them.”

Learn more about Bec’s awesome cause on her crowdfunding campaign page:

Allen & Susan’s Portugal Firestorm Recovery

Allen & Susan

Allen & Susan

“We obtained our land in Portugal with a spring and terraces, neglected for many years. Our intention was to breathe new life into this land with her beautiful views and life giving waters, creating both a home for ourselves, and a space to offer workshops, groups and retreats to others, encouraging creativity, celebration, personal growth and conscious connection to the land and each other. Our work is inspired by our passions; music, Bio-dynamic gardening, Earth healing, conscious inquiry and meditation. We named our project Solaria after the spring that had called us to this land.

In October 2017 a firestorm raged across Portugal. It burnt the land and our motorhome. The foundation we had set in place to begin building our vision was gone. Since acquiring the land we had faced many challenges and setbacks that we could not have imagined at the start. The fire left us feeling heartbroken and defeated, but crowdfunding is a beautiful thing. We have been so moved by the support we have received so far. It has helped re-ignite our vision, and the commitment and determination needed to bring it to fruition.

In the final days of our campaign we are asking once more for help to reach our target.  The donations we receive will enable us to start to build the basic infrastructure needed to hold our first groups; a small space for ourselves, compost toilets, and washing facilities, an outdoor covered kitchen and our first Bio-dynamic gardens. There is an open invitation to all to spend time with us at Solaria, to drop into what it means to be together on this precious earth at these challenging times, with conscious intent to work to create a heartful and harmonious human space.”

Check out Allen & Susan’s crowdfunding campaign below!

iStay Eco – Promoting sustainable travel!

Christina IStay Eco
Christina IStay Eco

“I love to travel. I also love the beautiful planet we’re living on. Yet I’ve come to realise just how much the former has been making the latter a lot harder to love simply because of how unsustainable travelling has become. Earth has not been able to cope with it and it’s urgent we think twice about our future travels.

Each time I’m planning on travelling somewhere I think about all the amazing ecofriendly places I might stay at. I used to get really frustrated that I couldn’t easily find such accommodation on the “interweb” and instead had to search for hours even for just a few options. I kept on asking myself why there are no websites dedicated to making it easier to find and book sustainable accommodation while travelling anywhere around the world. Most hotel booking websites don’t even try to help travelers in this way and even if they do, their listings are quite limited or a lot of greenwashing is involved. One day it was decided I would simply produce the kind of platform I’ve been looking for and call it iStayEco! 

iStayEco’s mission is to work hand in hand with every accommodation seeking or holding internationally recognized sustainable certification so that travelers can conveniently locate, appreciate, and book them to take ecologically responsible holidays.

Why a crowdfunding campaign was launched to support iStayEco is to find the funds it will take to develop its prototype (a test version) first. With a prototype of the platform in place iStayEco can be tested to learn how best to bring it to life. From how it searches places to stay, to how it shares information about each accommodation’s unique and sustainable features – we want to be sure we do it right. So far over 50% of the crowdfunding goal has been raised, proving that people really care about making travel more sustainable!

In return for more support towards the iStayEco crowdfunding campaign there are many chances to book holidays through iStayEco at a discount once it launches (in the fall of 2018) making it even easier to stay with some of the loveliest most sustainable accommodations in the world.

Learn more about iStayEco’s mission to promote more sustainable travel on their crowdfunding campaign page below:

Sacha Uku – A Steiner Waldorf Initiative in Columbia

Sasha Uku

Sasha Uku

“I first learnt what extreme poverty was in an African village ten years ago, at age eighteen.

That experience changed my life and since then I’ve been constantly involved in volunteering, fundraising and visiting social and educational projects for economically underprivileged children.

For my day job I work as a teacher in Steiner Education, an alternative, holistic education. For the past three years I’ve been living in Colombia and have seen the unfortunate public education system as well as the lack of choices available to families from lower economic backgrounds.

I’m now combining my two passions, as well as my growing understanding of Colombian culture to open a Steiner Preschool, together with a Colombian friend.

Thanks to my recent Chuffed campaign we can now go ahead with creating a beautiful preschool where underprivileged children can attend for free.”

Check out the awesome Sacha Uku crowdfunding campaign below!

Changing the narrative of choice in Niagara with Pro-Choice Billboards

Pro-Choice Billboards

“Niagarans for Womens Rights are exactly what we sound like, residents in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada who are for women’s rights!

This campaign specifically addresses reproductive rights and has come to life through the cooperative effort of several women who are looking to balance the conversation of those rights in our community.

Billboards that are Pro-Life and send damaging messages to women making difficult decisions are scattered throughout our Region, now moreso than ever before.

Our goal is provide some balance, create a visual acknowledgement that there are people in this community who respect women, who trust women and who support their right to choice.”

For more on this inspiring cause, check out the crowdfunding campaign below: