The 16th episode of the Drax Files has premiered, showcasing the work of Brique Topaz (Brique Zeiner, RL) and her organisation Live and Learn in Kenya (LLK). They are engaged in work to feed and educate poor children in Kenya, including covering fees, uniform, shoes, textbook and school supplies and now, even building a school of their own.
Feed A Smile is a programme run by LLK to provide nutritious warm lunches for over 400 children every day, paid for entirely from donations to the project. Over a third of the money directed at the programme comes from donations received through Feed a Smile in Second Life – and that’s a remarkable figure.
The money is raised through live music played at the Lavender Fields club, which stages around 5 or 6 events weekly and to which musicians donate their tips and visitors are asked to donate just L$100 ($0.30), which is enough to purchase a filling meal for a child in Kenya, a fact that within itself is quite mind-boggling.
“I keep waiting for the mainstream media to realise that Relay in Second Life is the greatest human interest story,” Zander Greene commented when discussing Fantasy Faire and RFL with Drax in 2013. “I just don’t understand why CNN and forty other media outlets aren’t beating down our door to try to tell this story.”
Those words apply equally here; who would have thought that people creating digital avatars and logging-in to a virtual environment and sharing time listening to one another’s music, could have such a profound effect on the lives of young children in Africa?
This is very much a story which should be highlighted and pushed out before the mainstream media; not because it is “feel good”, but because it is a clear demonstration of the positive and lasting influence virtual words can have on the real world, and more than an antidote to the hoary old view the media has that those involved in such spaces do so because they “lack” a life elsewhere.
“There are a lot of people out there who really want to do good things,” Brique observes, “but they don’t know how … in Second Life, it’s all there. It’s all possible.” Indeed. Where else has such an immersive, engaging and free-flowing environment become the conduit for so many from around the world to help support others?