For the past few weeks we had a new addition to the Drug Advice Support (DAS) family, Rae Goedeman (in picture with Bradley Naidoo). She has really been so helpful and the advice and support she is giving is really changing many lives. Not only is the support to those in need but also to the rest of the Reconstructed team. Definitely much more to look forward to from our Mother Advice Support.
Well after managing the amount of conversations with our upgraded server the amount of requests for access to the service has increased over the past week. We are back to 250 conversations in an hour and our new server couldnt handle the amount of requests from the users (See images for Network Traffic and CPU Usage). This means that in a session we could easily reach 500 plus subscribers. This does indicate that we need to expand and enhance our servers, which we hope to do in the next few days. We are happy with the growth DAS has indicated and we hope to reach our 10 000 subscriber mark within the next few months.
It was very encouraging to have The Reconstructed project beaing featured on East Coast Radio and on their "News Watch" blog which shows that their are many who can make a difference using the technology that they have at hand.
With examples this past week from people like Ashton Kutcher using Twitter as medium to raise awareness of Malaria but also to acquire Mosquito nets through using this new media format for donations. Another incident is also a British woman, Susan Boyle, who had the life long dream of becoming a famous singer and at the age of 47 her dream are being realised through her audition on Britian's Got Talent show, being seen my millions of people accross the world via sharing sites like Youtube.
This shows that with the technology we have at hand and if its being used appropriately that we can Empower our Communities as we see the lives of The Reconstructed being transformed.
With the increased interest from NGOs and other community based organisations on how they can use social media for reconstructing communities I've found this interesting presentation that will indicate how social media could be used by Community organisations and local Community Leaders. The technology is the medium the conversations and stories are still crucial in the space of Social Media for Community Empowerment.
The article below appeared in the Athlone News, Wednesday 8 April 2009 titled "IT Guru offers debt counselling online" introducing Debt Breaker for the first time to the media. Click on the picture to have it enlarged.
We've just launched the first phase of Debt Breaker's mobile website where we give consumers more information about the Debt Breaker debt counselling and management service. Debt Breaker is the first debt counselling service provider offering its users access to a mobi site with the opportunity to forward information via the mobile website interface too. You can view the mobile website via http://m.debtbreaker.co.za
1c Blogpost using MXit. We have been exploring ways of how we could ensure that more people especially youth start blogging using their mobile phones and MXit. Using a chat bot and linking MXit with this blog we were able to blog for less than ZaR0.01 using this mobile chat platform. Not bad when bandwidth and accessibility to computers are expensive. This could mean that South Africe is alive with possibilities for ordinary citizens to blog and share their thoughts using this simple technology. Setting up your blog in MXit post will be coming soon.
Visit to CSIR. Today I am visiting the CSIR and will be meeting with the national coordinator from SAFIPA. Our discussions will focus on their involvement of the Athlone Living Lab which was started late last year. One of the new projects we hope to collaborate on is the 'Community Gaming Education Centre' (CGEC) in partnership with Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of Southampton. This project we hope to launch during the next few months as we use Gaming technologies to empower youth at risk.
Migg33 increases in SA. Mig33 has been expanding its operations in and already boasts millions of users in South Africa. Mig33 is hoping that SA Political parties will use this mobile chat technology to engage with technology savvy youth during the elections. With South Africa being described as a Mobile society there are more opportunities to use such platforms to engage with the public. We also use Mig33 as a platform to engage with Communities in Tension (CiT) to support with substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, Career and Debt problems.
Blogging via MXit. I have been testing to see if we could do text blog posts via MXit as we launch a new project next month with some schools that is part of the Athlone Living Lab. This is officially my first MXit post
After a long week of new developments and seeing what other technologies are available to be used for community empowerment, I got an add on FaceBook as a friend with a message that really made my evening (See picture above).
Message reads: Hey the angel thing on mxit helpd my friend get out of an abusive relationship.just wanted to say thanx!
The Angel service on MXit is a first of its kind launched last year in conjunction with MXit Lifestyle PTY Ltd. This service provide its users free information on MXit relating to Substance Abuse, HIV/AIDS, Depression, Abuse and Stress and Coping. After hearing how this service has helped someone from an abusive relationship makes this work just so much more special for us, knowing that we are empowering individuals and reconstructing lives.
Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who has voted for The Reconstructed blog, you have truly made a huge impact on the lives of The Reconstructed Team. Just to be mentioned in the same breath with blogs such SARocks, Thought Leader (by Mail and Guardian), Moral Fibre and all the others is a humbling experience for us (see image above), taking in consideration that this blog is managed by young men and women who just over a year ago had very little to live for.
For many of them this highlighted that through using a simple medium such as blogging and engaging with others using social media that their lives will be changed and their voices will be heard again. They can leave a positive footprint and slowly begin to re-write (re-blog) their lives which for many is needed after a dark and cold past. To think that in this group 90% of its contributors have not completed school or formal education, had a past caught up in substance abuse, gang related activities and crime. This is just a breath of fresh air to see how their lives have been reconstructed and how they are now using what they've been taught and teaching others who has joined the Reconstructed Team.
To all the young men and women of the Reconstructed, I salute you for a job well done!! You've shown that change is possible and that there is always hope for those who believe that all is lost.
With the increase of consumers being over indebted and an estimated 60% of approximate 19 million who requires assistance in South Africa a new and innovative means are required to get consumers to the services of a Debt Counselor (DC).
Consumers are universally advised to negotiate reduced repayments with creditors. This generally proves to be very difficult. A debt counselor will be able to assist and be the mediator between you and your creditors. Over-Indebted consumers are often afraid to approach a DC, they don’t have courage to do it or even the fact that they are not aware of the remedies available in terms of our Law.
Debt Breaker is an innovative mobile service where a consumer (over indebted or who just requires advice and support) can add our debt breaker contact to MXit, Google Talk, AIM, Fring, Nimbuzz, Mig33 and many other chat applications. So now you are able to get in contact with someone who can support you with debt related issues remotely using a mobile phone or computer.
With Debt Breaker you will be able to get free advice with regard to debt related issues, over indebtedness will be explained with the remedy available in terms of the National Credit Act. Your conversation is confidential and anonymous allowing you to have the liberty to address the debt issues you, family or friend is experiencing.
An initial assessment will be done free of charge which means if the Debt Breaker subscriber intend to proceed with a debt counselor then the process time will be shortened. Debt Breaker Subscribers will be made aware of documentation that is needed upon first consultation. Debt Breaker would also be able to refer subscribers to registered debt counselors across South Africa.
How to add Debt Breaker to MXit:
Add Contacts Choose Google Talk Google ID: debtbreaker Nickname: Debt Breaker Accept Contact
On Google Talk and other chat applications just add our firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts.
This contact is available Monday and Wednesday between 4 and 7pm.
JJeRR Counseling and Consultants: 021 699 1453 for more info about Debt Counseling
More information about Debt Breaker will be coming soon...