Kohima: In a first of its kind, popular YouTubers from Nagaland have started an online fundraiser event to help people affected by COVID-19 and its induced lockdown. Doing their bit to raise funds and give hope to the people, 10 YouTubers took to the social media platform to stream an 11-hour show for the cause.
Headed by YimkhongTV on YouTube and Mhaleu Metha, several popular YouTube channels, including Tiapong Tzudir (The Yatra kid), Yangthy Imchen, Lolo Ezung, JPollnd, Naga Nuna vlogs, Aloto Naga, Mr smile, Jamir vlogs, and Aien Amri are part of the online fundraiser event called “Together for Nagaland” that will continue till the end of June.
Speaking with EastMojo, Yimkhong of YimkhongTV said, “Our main motive is to reach out to the poorest of the poor. We want to lend a helping hand to those who are in need”. Sharing about how the idea was conceived, Yimhong said that YouTubers like him gets many messages from people asking for their help and assistance.
“We get a lot of DMs and comments, and personally, it is an emotional feeling when people reach out to me for help,” said the YouTuber with 237K subscribers. He informed that through his channel, over 200 stranded people received assistance last year.
He added “As a YouTuber, I cannot help many people alone. Since I wanted to try something bigger and reach out to more people all over the state, I sought the help of the other YouTubers to collectively raise funds. Everyone was so excited, energetic and willing. That is how it all started and I am so happy that they were all willing to join the cause”.
Through eleven-hour live streaming on Youtube on Sunday, over Rs 1.2 lakh was raised on YouTube after deduction of YouTube taxes. He informed that over Rs 7 lakh was raised on Milaap, a platform to raise money for various causes. To maintain transparency, he said that details of the transactions are available on his social networking sites.
“I am so proud of the YouTubers. This is just the first time that we are collaborating for a cause. We are looking out for more YouTubers from the state to join us,” he said. He informed that the team had initially planned the fundraiser to “help Nagaland breathe” and “feed the hungry” where the funds raised would be used to buy oxygen concentrators for those in need, and then provide rations to the needy.
However, due to a similar initiative undertaken by another group to “help Nagaland breathe” where oxygen-related materials are being purchased for those in need, the team has decided to provide rations to the needy people across all the districts.
“The decision was made after a poll on YouTube where 84% of the viewers voted in favour of distributing rations to the needy people,” he said. He also informed that the ration distribution will kick off from Kohima and Dimapur with the help of the team. The team will then identify organizations from other districts that are helping the needy people and reach out to them to provide funds for the purchase and distribution of goods.
As movements are limited across the state due to the lockdown, he said that the team plans to coordinate with the various leaders from the localities and villages to identify those who need ration.
During a crisis like this, he encouraged all people to reach out to those neighbours in need of help. “Contributions may not be huge, but try to help people even in the little ways you can,” he urged.
22-year-old content creator, Tiapong Tzudir, shared his excitement about being part of the collaboration. “Since most of us had this in mind to start something, I feel very privileged to be part of it. The overwhelming response from the people was also very surprising,” he tells EastMojo.
Working for a common cause with his fellow YouTubers, he said “feels good”. “Since it was an eleven hour-long live session, at one point when we were getting tired, we became more of ourselves. We even took our cameras around the kitchen and started eating because we also felt hungry,” he lightly added.
But the influencers managed to keep the audience hooked throughout the live streaming, despite the bad network connectivity and various other challenges. “We kept on interacting with the audiences and took our turns to interact with them. We had about 6-10k viewers consistently,” he added.
“At the end of the day, it is for a common cause and to help those in need,” he optimistically said. While these content creators are doing their part by giving back to the people by raising funds and creating awareness about the current situations, they have their shares of challenges and difficulties.
“Most of Nagaland YouTubers are steel-faced and thick-skinned. There are numerous derogatory remarks that we get for the work we do on YouTube. But I think that the future of tomorrow lies in social media. So, I make raw videos to document life as it is now so that the memories of it will live on even 10 years from now,” he said.
Saying that many changes have taken place over the years, he said, “Our future generations will not get to see what we are seeing now, just like the way we have missed out on many things in life and nature that lived in the past. So, to me, it feels important to document it”.
While few may consider the profession as merely uploading videos on YouTube, he said a lot of effort also goes into creating contents, promotions, and building networks.