Like many in the WordPress community, at Human Made we spend a lot of time focussing on the “how”. How do we make this happen? How do we fix this? How could this be done? We work with WordPress or BuddyPress as tools to achieve the objectives of our project, the client’s project, to make the “how” happen. We often forget about the “why” and the fact that the tools we are using have the potential to create something with life changing impacts. Bowe Frankema’s CF Community project is all about the “why” of WordPress.
CF Community is a crowd funded project led by Bowe Frankema and Sarah Smit to build an international community for people affected by cystic fibrosis.
Like 1 in every 3,500 children around the world, both Bowe and Sarah were born with cystic fibrosis (CF). Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that particularly affects the lungs and digestive system. The average life expectancy for sufferers is 40 years. One of the many difficult aspects, and the one that prompted CF Community, is that sufferers cannot meet in person due to the risks of cross-infection. As a child Bowe gained an enormous amount from attending summer camps for kids with CF. Since 2005, when research highlighted the risks of cross infection, these camps can no longer take place; Bowe wants to try and fill the huge gap that this has left through a virtual, online community.
Bowe was already working as a developer with a focus on online communities and BuddyPress. For a long time he had nurtured an idea about building a community for cystic fibrosis. Sadly, the reality of life for those with cystic fibrosis is that there are sometimes very difficult times, often with sadness mixed in. Existing social networks such as Facebook didn’t offer the privacy required or have the features needed to reflect life with CF. Bowe wanted to design something specifically for the needs of the CF community, to allow people affected by cystic fibrosis, (whether themselves or a family member), to have a place for support, acceptance and understanding. As he worked with and became part of the BuddyPress community, Bowe began to feel that BuddyPress and CF Community were an ideal fit. Although there were other tools that could have done the same job, it was the spiritual fit that was more important.
Giving and contributing is key to what WordPress is all about. While it is by no means the only open source project, what really define WordPress is the amazingly close-knit and supportive community that surrounds it. This is evident on the forums, at meet-ups and at WordCamps. In a recent interview for Code Poet, Bowe highlighted this, “I believe that the “giving back” aspect comes naturally as soon as you meet the people who work on and with WordPress every day. “
Bowe saw the potential to harness this spirit and use BuddyPress as the tool for real life changing impact for the CF community. The WordPress community has risen to the challenge; we are getting involved along with Mason James, Siobhan McKeown, Tammie Lister and Sarah Smit, but there is still plenty to be done. Bowe and Sarah have created a crowdfunding campaign for CF Community on IndieGoGo. They have also created a CF campaign page specifically for the WordPress community at http://wordpress.cfcommunity.net/. There are some fantastic WordPress related perks in return for donations, offered by many generous sponsors from the WordPress world; don’t miss out on the Human Made code review or a consultancy session with Noel Tock.
Please go and have a look, find out more and donate if you are able. There is not long left so please make it a priority. You can also keep an eye out for practical help and support that they may need on the site. We are all pretty good at doing the “how”, so lets put the “how” to good use for a really worthwhile “why”.