Although not pervasive, crowdfunding was prevalent before the dawn of the internet age. However, in the modern context, most of the crowdfunding campaigns are done online. The first instance of online crowdfunding occurred in the UK when the rock band Marillion, formed in 1979, raised $60,000 to fund their North American tour in 1997, even before the word ‘crowdfunding’ was coined.
Originally a foreign concept (online crowdfunding), it has started to hold a strong foothold in the Indian subcontinent. Although slow to engulf the developing nations, crowdfunding has enormous potential to resuscitate the poorer countries at the same time ensuring transparency.
I successfully raised $1500 through a crowdfunding campaign on Ivy Ties to fund my initial deposit at Imperial College London and confirm my acceptance into the postgraduate course in Bioengineering.
Note: I later managed to get scholarships from EIT Health and J.N. Tata to pursue the CEMACUBE program. This changed my mind not to pursue bioengineering at Imperial College and my funders were cool with it.
Here is my take on the topic.
Crowdfunding Scenario: India v/s Rest Of The World
Meet Mia Oquita, a high school student in Arizona, United States. She raised a fund of $4628 for a 4-week summer school at Oxford University on GoFundMe. Although she couldn’t meet her goal of $8000, she managed to get nearly 60% target. This amount charged for the summer school is actually a lot. You can get a Master’s degree in science or engineering from Oxford University at $36,000. However, people in the US did believe in her potential and helped her fulfill her dreams.
However, crowdfunding for higher studies abroad is not a very popular thing in India. At some point, I was shunned for starting a campaign. Many people in India view foreign education as a kind of brain drain.
Even many people view it as something privileged and hence, someone has to be really well-off to afford it. Truth be told, many people who go for higher studies in the US are well off. However, it can’t be generalized as such.
While organizations like GoFundMe help students in the Western European and American countries raise money for summer schools or university studies, these websites don’t allow students of Asian or African countries to raise money on their platform.