Two years ago, my life changed in ways I could never have expected. Covid forced us all into lockdown, and the world changed overnight. I was terrified, running a small business that had lost most of its clients. With so much time in isolation, I had to face my fears and question my very existence. Who was I without all the projects and people I was once attached to? What was my purpose? I knew I loved helping others, but feeling so disconnected and isolated, I didn't know how I could help.
After Ramadan, I became aware of the severe famine in Yemen and felt moved to do something. But as a solitary person on the other side of the world, what could I do for people I would probably never even see? I thought of creating a campaign on LaunchGood to try to raise a small amount of money for the cause. But I realized that I was deeply uncomfortable asking people for money, and was afraid I wouldn't be able to reach my goals. What would people think if I failed?
A friend suggested I organize around an activity I already do, which others could then join both virtually and collectively. I had already begun a walking challenge the year before, so I thought I would start with that. My campaign was set: it was going to be the #WalkWithSobiaForYemen challenge, and everyone was invited. After my campaign page was set up, I took a deep breath and began sharing it on my social media.
After a long lockdown, it turned out that people were excited about getting out and doing something physical outdoors again. They started walking. Within one week, we had raised $3,000 - exceeding my initial goal of $2,500! People from all over the world were walking for Yemen, most of them individuals I didn't even know personally. Our walking group began growing exponentially, taking on a life of its own. It left me speechless.
By the end of the month and many walks later, we had raised over $10,000. Alhamdulillah!! What had started in a place of doubt and uncertainty became something greater than all of us. It brought people together from as far as Malaysia and as close as my hometown of Toronto, Canada.
My heart swelled at the power of the community coming together to help a country in need. I learned that with just a small idea, anyone can make a difference. As an individual, I was afraid of not being able to make a change - but together with other people, we were able to make a collective difference for those in need. Who knew an activity as ordinary as a walk could make such an impact? Sometimes you just have to trust your heart and take a chance to find out.
Don't wait. The power of generosity is in communities all around you. All you need to do is take that first step like I did.
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Sobia is a growth marketer at LaunchGood based in Toronto, Canada. She's passionate about helping others and loves llamas!