Crowdfunding venture backs individual quest for something better

13 February 2017

Business School graduates launched Journey Crowdfunding with the aim of empowering individuals in need and supporting their quest for a better life. 

The urgent need for a new and innovative way to empower the most vulnerable in our society became glaringly apparent to commerce student Charles Zhang during a perchance conversation with a magazine vendor in the street near Sydney’s Redfern railway station.

Lisa was a mother of two children, both with ADHD. She and her partner sold copies of The Big Issue in order to make ends meet. Lisa told Charles that she wanted to take on some vocational training that might lead to a job but she did not have the means to do so.

This month, Charles Zhang, Michelle Aneli and Business School graduates Angus Gibbs, and Sajith Howpage launched Journey Crowdfunding with the aim of supporting people like Lisa in their quest for a better life.

Business School graduates leading Journey Crowdfunding.

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“Journey works with its partners to identify individuals or groups in need of social support and to identify projects or goals that will make a measurable difference to their lives,” explains Charles Zhang. “We then use our crowdfunding platform to encourage donations.”

“Once our target amount is met, we work together with our partners and the beneficiaries to make the planned project a reality,” Charles said.

“It’s our mission to empower individuals in need and support them in their quest for a better life. It’s also about encouraging people to connect with the marginalised, while giving a voice and identity to those working with us.” 

Journey’s partners include the Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) which provides specialised support services to newly arrived migrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants and a Hazara refugee community organisation, Ketab Hazara.

Anamika, support recipient.

Anamika, support recipient. 

Early support recipients include Anamika (pictured right) who hopes to empower women through Indian art classes and Amir who plans to improve the employment prospects of young people by teaching them to drive.

Journey is also providing support for Mahsa, who is currently studying with a view to becoming a pharmacist and for a refugee football team which is hoping to compete in the forthcoming Refugee World Cup in Melbourne.

“Angus, Sajith, Michelle and I have worked to build a platform that will empower people to reach their current goals but ensure that they have all the necessary support need to succeed well into the future,” said Charles.

“Journey Crowdfunding is an outstanding example of how businesses and leadership skills can be used in an innovative way to benefit of people who are disadvantaged by factors beyond their control,” concluding the Dean of the University of Sydney Business School, Professor Greg Whitwell. “This truly is leadership for good.”

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