Thanks to Persia Bravin and The Best Of SL Magazine for this beautiful article about The Ashraya Project on their September 2012 issue!
Words: Persia Bravin
Images: Courtesy of Padma Chidambaram
Perhaps there’s no better use of Second Life than as a platform to help raise both awareness and funds for real life charities that really need our support. When used properly, when all is transparent and accounted for and when you can be absolutely assured that your hard earned cash is going to directly benefit those who need it, then making money for worthwhile real life causes can be a great use of your time inworld. One woman who understands this more than most is the current Miss Virtual World, Anna Sapphire.
Over the last few months, Anna has worked tirelessly to help produce two major fundraising events within SL that have benefited real life charitable organisations. It’s a well-known fact that most charities take a while to account for their donations due to strict charity regulations, but on July 17th the staff at the Neelbagh School in India (who were the beneficiaries of all money raised via the recent Ashraya Project in SL), delightedly confirmed the funds donated by kind SL residents had reached their account – and was already being put to good use!
It’s because of Anna and the 160 other SL residents including designers, artists, sponsors, media organisations, bloggers and DJ’s that the Ashraya Project in SL was such a huge success. The event ran from May 28th until June 4th 2012 and was visited by literally thousands of fashion conscious residents with deep pockets and big hearts, with a massive L$ 1.011.454 eventually being raised. All proceeds will directly benefit the children in India and will also help support the running costs of the school to help it become sustainable and to continue to provide services for the youngsters long into the future.
Being Miss Virtual World can be both a blessing and a curse: over the past four years, I have personally interviewed all of the women who have held this title and each of them have said that despite the negative side effects (the baseless gossip, predictable slander and complete untruths written about them), that the most rewarding aspect of wearing this crown is the chance to help others – and Anna is no exception. “What made me literally cry was to see so many people asking me how they could help,” says Anna, showing me the bank receipt from the real life charity, “I discovered a new side to the SL community: a human, kind and generous side and I will always be grateful to all the people who supported this cause.”
It’s because of all those kind and generous people in SL that the children and staff at the Neelbagh Rural Residential School now face a much brighter future and the photos shown here help illustrate exactly how every single L$ raised can make such a huge difference. If you were one of the people who attended the Ashraya project in SL, if you bought one single thing, blogged this event, donated your time and skills or simply added a couple of spare L$ to the pot-then give yourself a big pat on the back, because you have helped change the lives of others for the better. Last words must go to the amazing Anna Sapphire: “It’s so wonderful to see how a good cause could really move so many people and create a beautiful team work.”