JAMAICA – Positive power of social media
KINGSTON –– When the plight of Kevin Robinson — a 33-year-old disabled man — was highlighted in a Sunday Observer article a few weeks ago, social media responded and a few bloggers shared his story on their sites, determined to ensure he had a merry Christmas.
Subsequently, a Secret Santa —a Jamaican blogger living abroad who has asked that her name and blog be kept private — reached out to help and braved the long Western Union lines and the heavy Christmas Eve traffic to ensure that Robinson and his grandmother Rubina Brown were outfitted with amenities that would see them enjoying Christmas more comfortably.
“Social media has proven time and time again how powerful it is in impacting change on people’s lives and on communities across the world. This story in one such case in point. This partnership to assist Kevin is also testament that all bloggers do not fit in the stereotypical vacuum of merely gossipmongers,” she said.
She also used the opportunity to encourage Jamaicans living abroad to commit to similar causes and help other Jamaicans in need.
“The greatest gift is charity in love. If every Jamaican living abroad gave back a dollar to those who are in need and incapable of helping themselves, we could help lift our country out of widespread poverty. It would not just benefit them, but it would benefit you as well because the needy would have their necessities and the universe would return what was given to you.”
Earlier in the Christmas season, Robinson also received assistance from Jamaica Labour Party councillor Joel Williams who offered assistance with accessing social benefits, while Food For the Poor provided him with a wheelchair and another group of bloggers gave him a stove.
Yesterday Robinson was close to tears as he expressed gratitude for the random acts of kindness that strangers, many of whom are now friends, have shown him.
“I want to thank everyone who has been trying to reach out to assist me. I am very grateful for the wheelchair that Food For the Poor gave me. Also, if it is possible for somebody to help me to get a motorized wheelchair it would be great, because it would make it easier for me to move around,” Robinson said.
“I am particularly grateful to the group of bloggers who have met or reached out to me and are trying to help me in a great way, especially in making sure that I got something for my Christmas. I also want to thank the Jamaica Observer which shared my story with the world so that I could meet all these good, caring people who continue to show me kindness.”
Almost 18 years ago at age 16, Robinson was robbed of the chance of ever living a normal life when a series of gunshots — from the weapons of unknown men while he visited friends in downtown Kingston — left him lying in his own blood, face down.
He spent a year at the Kingston Public Hospital fighting for his life and hoping for a chance at a normal life, but he said that as the days passed he knew he would be living in a different world.
Now wheelchair-bound, he is hoping for a place to live, and a market for his art.