French social media star leads humanitarian causes

By Meryem Goktas

ISTANBUL / ANKARA (AA) – French social media influencer Jerome Jarre, who raises humanitarian aid through crowdfunding campaigns, says small individual actions can lead to big changes.

With millions of followers on Vine and Snapchat, Jarre was recognized as Communicator of the Year by the TRT World Citizen initiative for his Love Army movement, which connects people across the world using digital tools.

“I don’t believe that charities or big humanitarian actions are going to change the world, I believe the world is going to change when each one of us starts doing the small acts because means of small actions will always be bigger than one big action,“ he said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

“So if we want the world in peace we need millions of small steps and we need it to all do it together,“ he added.

Jarre said that he wanted to use his influence on social media in a more productive way to “do good“ rather than profiting for his own benefits, which is why he started the Love Army movement collectively with a group of influencers.

"We decided we needed to create this pure, uncorrupted place on social media for the world and that’s what LoveArmy is and stays,“ he said.

“We are building this very slowly we are not trying to build this super fast because if we did this we could corrupt it quickly so right now we have a pure seed and we are trying to keep it. It will grow at a natural speed,“ he added.

– Support from Turkish Airlines

The Love Army launched a successful campaign last year to raise money to help famine-struck Somalia.

Twitter users from around the world supported the online campaign with #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia.

Hollywood actor Ben Stiller also joined the campaign asking the airline to send an aircraft carrying aid to Somalia.

As the campaign picked up, Turkish Airlines sent 60 tons of humanitarian aid worth $2 million to Somalia.

His dispelled rumors that they had taken the airline on board before starting the campaign.

“The truth is Turkish Airlines had no idea […], we had not told them. Suddenly they get this wave on social media: give us an airplane,“ he said.

Jarre said including the audience in the campaign made it interactive as each individual got to help in achieving the goal.

The 28-year-old added that Turkish Airlines also supported them by covering flight costs for them.

“I have nothing but good things to say about them,“ he added.

– Humanitarian aid

Speaking about the campaign in Somalia, he said they changed their strategy after visiting the affected area.

“You can give money to the families in Somalia and they will start their own business, they will buy animals, they will buy goats and that is more empowering and the money is in this way injected in the Somali ecosystem — versus if you buy rice in another country or food in another country. It is not helping Somalia that much in the long run,“ he said.

Jarre also led a campaign to help the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar raising more than $1 million.

He said the Love Army employed Rohingya Muslims at the camps in Bangladesh.

“We hired 3,000 people in this camp for cleaning, construction, teaching, doctors etc but this was a turning point because they had so many ideas it inspired us and they were so proud to work,“ he said.

Jarre added that it was important start positive work from the home and neighborhood.

“I know we are doing work on the other side of the world but there is so much that needs to happen locally. Any love action is worth as much as a big humanitarian action."

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