The IncluderEpisode 6Help Room

    by Andrius Kulikauskas
    October 26, 2008

    Includer gives way to the Help Room. The more intensely we work
    offline, the more intensely we engage each other online. I share my
    proposal to the Knight News Challenge. The deadline is November 1. I ask for $180,000 for this three-year project.

    The Minciu Sodas laboratory includes an online chat room. (Our new domain is: www.helproom.org)


    We wish to staff our chat room around-the-clock as a central venue to:


    Help Room organized by Minciu Sodas

    In three years we wish to run our chat room as a sustainable business. We will develop independent income streams to support:

    • 1 full-time business developer
    • 1 part-time software developer
    • 3 full-time organizers who attract participants in different time zones
    • 16 part-time chat coaches who engage and help all who come
    • 64 volunteer hosts who lead regular chats to advance team projects and related business proposals

    We will staff our 24-hour chat room in:

    • Africa and Europe
    • the Americas
    • Asia and Australia

    We will
    do outreach in the United States, Latin America, India and China. We
    will chat in English but also other languages, including Lithuanian, Kiswahili, Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian, Spanish and Chinese.

    We work publicly, in the Public Domain.

    Our chat
    room will be the central hub of a social network of 10,000 online
    participants who actively help each other to help 1,000,000 people

    How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered to geographic communities?

    In 2008, Minciu Sodas was the online world’s most responsive network for helping Kenyans during the post-election turmoil. At our chat room, we coordinated the flow of news from SMS and Skype and letters to wiki to Ushahidi and blogs and reporters. We organized response.

    Lithuanians helping Kenyans, January, 2008

    Our chat room is an entryway where we greet people. We ask them what they value, investigate, wish to achieve? We embrace people with marginal Internet skills and access. We sign them up for discussion groups and our Ning social network. We teach them to use wikis. We help every person be newsworthy.

    We wish to help everybody who wants global response, whether to a personal concern or a regional emergency.

    How is your idea innovative?

    We propose to organize around our chat room as the center of our social networking world.

    We live
    in a world that is 90% business and 10% charity. Instead, we seek a
    world where 90% is helping each other for free and 10% is extra paid

    Our chat
    room is all purpose for all people. We engage each person as an
    independent thinker of universal interest. We foster a culture of
    sharing, inclusion, Public Domain, working for free alongside working
    for pay.

    culture attracts helpful thinkers in Africa and Eastern Europe who
    staff our chat room for modest stipends from sponsors (such as
    churches) and business opportunities (such as translation). Our chat
    room organizers offer global teams for emergencies and strategic projects.

    What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop this project?

    In 1998, Andrius Kulikauskas founded Minciu Sodas as an online network for independent thinkers. We have 200 active and 2,000 supportive participants. We have written 30,000 letters in 30 working groups, and 4,000 wiki pages, in the Public Domain.

    In April 2007, we finished work on My Food Story for Unamesa Association. For $24,000, we organized 100 workers in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Palestine, Lithuania, Latvia, Serbia, India and the USA to collect 2,000 food stories.

    Sasha Mrkailo of Serbia. A friendly virtual assistant!

    Sasha Mrkailo of Serbia then staffed our ARSC Chat room and taught people how to use our wiki. Andrius customized the software. We have had 85,000 lines of chat.

    Every first Thursday, Pamela McLean leads a chat to link poor-bandwidth Africans and rich-bandwidth Westerners so that we learn from each other. We chat to build teams, engage groups, welcome newcomers and coach activists. We chat as we work online.

    In 2008, we organized the Pyramid of Peace of 100 helpers online and 100 peacemakers on-the-ground to avert genocide in Kenya. We coordinated our leaders to overcome tribal anger, engage gangs and open roads for food, medicine, fuel and refugees. We contributed and distributed $25,000 to about 1,000 volunteers who helped about 10,000 people directly and 100,000 people indirectly. We shared mobile phone credits as an emergency community currency. We saved lives.

    kenyanidpscollins.jpgKenya’s Internally Displaced Persons, February 2008.
    Photo courtesy Collins Odour of Repacted

    We can embed our organizers from East Africa and Eastern Europe in other time zones such as inner city Chicago, rural Missouri, Silicon Valley and Oaxaca, Mexico. We have contacts in India and China. Andrius can organize in Spanish and Chinese.

    We have a vibrant gift economy. St.Benedict the African parish choir in Chicago is sponsoring Fred Kayiwa of Uganda to staff our chat room on Saturday mornings, 10:00 am Chicago time, 4:00 pm London, 6:00 pm Nairobi.

    Thank you for your comments!

    Tagged: kenya Virtual assistant

    13 responses to “The IncluderEpisode 6Help Room”

    1. Here is my applications at the Knight News Challenge websites. Thank you for your comments there!

    2. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holistichelping/message/3564

      Dear Andrius,
      Thanks for your Knight News Challenge Proposal which we are still reading here in our group.
      I am applying to be one of your part time coordinators to lead as a part time coach to lead all who come to the lab. if you train me on what i should be doing precisely for this job, i will be grateful for I am very interested in learning and teaching others or learning and passing the information to all here and beyond as a leader.
      Immense thanks
      Wendi Losha Bernadette
      Actwid Kongadzem

    3. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learningfromeachother/message/2330

      Hi Andrius,

      Well done with the great Job, when everything is set I would like to
      work as one of the part-time chat room leaders if am given the

      Please feel free to ask for more information.


      Ugochukwu Nwosu
      Program Manager Ajegunle.org
      +234 803 747 4312
      volunteer | http://www.pin.org.ng
      volunteer|African Youth ICT4D Network, Nigeria|www.nyinetwork.org

    4. Wendi Losha Bernadette, Thank you for your supportive letter! I hope that
      I win, in which case I am very interested to include you and others in
      your group.

      Ugochukwu Nwosu, Welcome! Thank you also for your support. I note your
      blog http://ugochukwunwosu.wordpress.com where I read: “Ugochukwu Nwosu
      is the program manager of Ajegunle.org (http://www.ajegunle.org) a
      project aimimg to transform a slum using ICT and entrepreneurship.
      Ut also makes use relay training.”

      I invite you to join Pamela McLean working group Learning From Each Other
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learningfromeachother/ send a blank message
      to [email protected] She is linking the
      bandwidth-rich and bandwidth-poor especially in Nigeria.

      I have posted your letters at the Knight News Challenge website and the
      PBS website, Thank you! Also, I invite you to chat on Saturdays 10:00
      Chicago time, 4:00 London time if you can make it at
      http://www.helproom.org where we can help each other with our projects.

    5. REPACTED07 said:
      Great prposal Andius and as always am ready to lend my expertise in the implementation. Dennis Kimambo kenya

    6. http://www.worknets.org/archive/index.pl?mon=10&mday=2&year=2008&numberofdays=1 November 2, 2008

      Benoit Couture: The help room is currently very active and hot. Thank you for that Andrius :: I hope to somehow, repay the room in kind :: My problem is that feel like I would be a hypocryte, in trying to help others, when my own life is so troubled :: To be one or to come across as one :: As you wrote earlier, I have grown much and there is much to go yet :: It must be quite late in Bosnia. Thank you for your time and all of that intails in terms of vital energy supply. One day, I hope to bring you back some ROI according to such quality and value as your treatment of others as yourself…keep up the good fight Andrius…you are on track…Salut for now and ever…

    7. toddkelsey said:
      Best wishes. I have done some volunteer work for One Laptop Per child, and my PhD relates to multilingual Web sites. It seems like you might benefit from multilingual open source CMS, which can help to make Web sites serving different languages, as a way to reach out to diverse local populations. If you would like some free advice/assistance, please feel free to ask a question at http://www.cmsedu.org, and if Knight doesn’t fund your idea, you are welcome to share it at http://www.ideagarden.cc – the Idea Garden provides an ongoing open space for Knight and Google 10tothe100th applicants to share their ideas in order to draw support and volunteers. -Todd – [email protected]

    8. AndrejT said: In which way is a chat room innovative? In that way that there are people speaking differrent languages?

    9. Hi Andrej, its innovative in that it is staffed around the clock – 24 hours – by people who are ready to help – on any matter – and who are encouraging a new culture of sharing and helping each other. I don’t know of any such all purpose chat room for helping each other.

    10. Rachel Wambui Kungu: This is good work Andrius. It will be an open way to meet many in a special way. Rachel Voluntary Youth Philanthropists http://www.peace-caravan.org

    11. Hi Andrius and all,
      I just wanted to comment on our happiness today that we received an email from William of Tanzania and we were so touched.This was really the first email directly received from one of us leaders in Africa.That gave us alot of hope about M.S. lab and we are very sure that since one hand cannot tie a bundle, M.S.lab will be a center to help us find friends and colleagues who can assist us to support our long standing project here.
      We have have also decided to forward to you the homepage of Givemeaning.com where we have an HIV Orphans and vulnerable children’s Education project. We will be pleased if leaders like you ,Pamela, Janet Feldman,Peter Burgers,Franz Nahrada,Tom,Rachel,and all interested can take a quick look at this our project and support it with whatever so that these children sick, poor and needy can survive by taking their medication, having some good nutrition and uniforms and books to go to school like other children.
      Finally, we still were waiting to hear from you precisely the specific time here in Cameroon for the chats which passed ,but now we can jopin the ones beginning from tomorrow if we know the right times corresponding with our own local times here.
      Immense thanks

    12. you’re in chicago? i just saw an entry

      cool. maybe if you like someday we could have coffee. i appreciate your care for the world

      – Todd Kelsey

    13. Todd Kelsey, Thank you for your posts and letters! I’m very interested how we might work together. I saw your website on CMS and the Idea Garden http://www.ideagarden.cc and improving our websites is very much on our mind, see our discussion at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalvillages/message/3785 and the replies. I’m interested to feature your work at my blog here some time. Peace, Andrius

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