The Capetonian man behind the #ImStaying movement and group has announced that the group will be around funding to support local businesses and after the suggestions of its members.

Since its launch on September 7, 2019, #ImStaying has managed to transform into a hub of positivity and acceptance. Almost 700 000 members have shared their unique South African stories. The group essentially celebrates the countries diversity while welcoming meaningful change.

Jarette Petzer (39) unintentionally inspired the viral movement when he posted a patriotic video on his personal Facebook page one day. The group dedicated to the Rainbow Nation aims to honour men and women of all races and religions. The aim is to inspire patriotism and create loyalty to South Africa. Instead of allowing the negativity to sway people to leave the country, the groups’s members are dedicated to sharing their reasons for staying in SA.

“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. 
With the success of the platform, the #IMSTAYING team has decided to broaden their mandate. It is in the process of formalizing an NGO to implement a number of initiatives. These will be aimed at helping to stimulate the economy through SME businesses and job creation.

“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 R44 027.41 with contributions from 32 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.

You can support #IMSTAYING on BackaBuddy by donating here: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/imstaying

Picture: Supplied

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