Steven Varga's Final Trip Home: The Social Side of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding platforms such as “GoFundMe” allow anyone to create and sustain fundraising campaigns aiming to support social causes and people going through a hard time.

Crowdfunding, the practice of funding a project by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people through online crowdfunding platforms, can go further than the financing of a business project and it can be a powerful way to support social causes. In these cases, the aim is to improve someone’s life and help people going through a tough moment.

Kate Singleton call for help is an example of how crowdfunding can help a family that is going through a dramatic moment.The last 25th of May 2017, Steven Varga, a 43 years old Australian man who lived in Sydney’s northern suburbs, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his hotel room in Mexico City.

According to his family and friends Steven was a “free-spirited” traveler and he had been travelling for three years before reaching Guatemala several weeks prior, where he had been robbed of his luggage and his passport.

Steven’s family sent him some money in order for him to fly to Mexico City, where he was to organise an emergency passport and fly back home, but due to a misunderstanding with the local authorities, he spent more than a week in detention. Once released, his family organised a flight home via the US. However, Steven was found dead in his hotel room on the 25th of May, the day before his departure to Australia. The Mexican authorities suggested it is a case of suicide, but as they did not provide any clear explanation about the death circumstances, it is hard for the family to believe this option.

Kate Singleton’s main concern was to bring back her son’s body for a proper autopsy and burial, in order to clarify what happened and to give him a proper goodbye. To cover costs, they could not afford ($18,000 repatriation and $12,000 funeral), the family and asked for help from their friends and all the people that knew Steven.

Kate created a crowdfunding campaign through the crowdfunding platform “GoFundMe”, the largest social fundraising platform in the world, founded in 2010. With a community of more than 25 million donors, “GoFundMe” allows anyone to create a fundraising campaign to raise money for themselves, for a friend or somebody they love in order to face some important moments in their lives. The fundraising campaign can cover, for example, a medical expense, an education cost, a volunteer program or a funeral cost.

The aim of the campaign “Steven’s Final Trip Home” was to raise $28,000. It raised $20,547 from 211 investors. Steven Vargas’ sad story underlines the social side of crowdfunding, where the main goal is to help someone facing unexpected adversities and obstacles. This story makes us understand the huge potential of crowdfunding, which can connect people together through emotions and the willingness to help each other.

Helping someone in need has never been so easy and the possibility to act is in our hands: let’s make the most out of crowdfunding!

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