After posting a patriotic video on his personal Facebook page, Jarette Petzer (39) from Cape Town, unknowingly started one of the fastest-growing Facebook groups with the viral #IMSTAYING movement.
Since it’s launch on 7th of September, #IMSTAYING has morphed into a hub of positivity, with almost 700 000 members sharing unique South African stories, celebrating diversity and welcoming meaningful change.
The group, dedicated to our rainbow nation aims to honour men and women of all races and all religions who remain loyal to South Africa. Instead of entertaining negativity and looking to greener pastures overseas, #IMSTAYING proves that while there are many reasons to leave, there are so many more reasons to stay, says Jarette.
“Our sole purpose was to change the narrative in South Africa away from the constant doom and gloom, and more toward gratitude, love respect and understanding. It started firstly with me. I had to change my own mind-set; change the way I thought, spoke and acted. I obviously had no clue this would happen, but it just goes to show that we the people of South Africa were desperate for change, and hopefully we are able to bring about that change together as a collective” – says Jarette
#IMSTAYING shows no signs of slowing down, with over 18.2 million posts, comments and reactions in the last 28 days.
“Seeing the unity and impact that has been created through ordinary South Africans sharing their personal stories of hope has been a proud moment for me. I feel that in some way, this simple act has rejuvenated so many people. With every post, we are sending a reminder that South Africans love each other and that different races can get along” – says Jarette
Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy
With the success of the platform, the #IMSTAYING team has decided to broaden their mandate and are in the process of formalizing in NGO to implement a number of initiatives aimed at helping to stimulate the economy through SME businesses and job creation in this sector.
“Never did we imagine that the group would inspire a nation as it has, and move from a Facebook page to a powerful movement that seems to now carry the hopes and dreams of our great people. As we move forward it is essential that we take this positive sentiment and turn it into inspired action that seeks to reduce unemployment and help grow our economy. In order to do this we have to formalize #ImStaying into an NGO.” says Jarette
To raise funds for their various initiatives, #IMSTAYING has partnered with donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy to appeal to South Africans to make a difference.
“It was imperative that we partnered with a reputable company that is totally transparent and properly geared towards helping us achieve our objectives. BackaBuddy was the obvious choice for us given their profile and the fact that I have personally worked with them before to help raise funds. Their level of care and professionalism has always stood out” says Jarette
With the launch of their first project on the 14th of October, #IMSTAYING has already raised a total of R45 107.02 with contributions from 34 donors.
“All funds raised will be used to implement business initiatives in the micro and SME space to open their doors, scale their business or create collaborative opportunities to work together. Naturally a small percentage of funds raised will be used on operational costs. All funds received will be administered by BackaBuddy and will be independently audited and fully transparent.” says Jarette
Jarette hopes the public will continue to support their initiative.
“Each member who contributes to the fund, will have had a hand not only in bringing someone’s dreams to fruition, but simultaneously helping to grow our economy. Our members will get to see this grow and unfold in front of their eyes and know that it was all as a result of us coming together as South Africans for a brighter tomorrow.” says Jarette
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“There is no other country in the world quite like South Africa. We are a nation of nations. We are among the most culturally rich countries in the world, with people from all walks of life calling SA home. With the love and respect we have for each other, we are impossible to defeat. My only hope is that #IMSTAYING will continue to inspire others to make a difference.” – says Jarette
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