Charity Week is an international organisation that involves seven countries including Ireland, Canada, Germany, Qatar, Australia, USA, UK. It works together with Islamic Relief with thousands of volunteers lending a hand and more than a million pounds raised every year to various causes. It takes place from Monday October 30th 2017 to Sunday November 5th 2017, and during this week a number of food, hiking and social events will occur all in the efforts of raising money for charity, from Bubble Tea Sales and Bake Sales to coastal path hikes.
However, what makes charity week different from all the other charities here in St Andrews?
“Charity Week is different from other charities here in that everyone gets to vote on where the money goes,” said Ollie Hoskins, this year’s St Andrews Charity Week Representative. “We hold events available for everyone in a one week period only. It also fosters a sense of community in St Andrews, as well as across Scotland amongst the volunteers who participate.”
Last year, the money raised went to three causes, namely, pediatric healthcare clinics in Syria that helped 130,000 children; food, education, and familial Aid to 275 orphans and 20,000 needy children in Bangladesh; the establishment of foster homes and families for thousands of refugee children in Europe, Jordan, and Lebanon as well as the establishment of Vocational Training Centres in Gaza. The St Andrews Charity Week team alone raised £5,251.11 last year within 7 days, an impressive total given the small size of our town.
This year, they’re hoping to raise emergency money for the Rohingya in Myanmar, providing equipment and medicine to the hospitals who are currently struggling with the high influx of patients on the border of Syria and Turkey and rebuilding schools in Malawi.
“I was very inspired by the projects last year,” says Hoskins. “Knowing that there are so many awful things going on in the world, and that it is so easy to become apathetic to the misfortunes or tragedies of others, I think that Charity Week is a great way to both remain constantly aware of our fellow human beings, as well to make a change for the better, even if only a little bit. Charity Week is a great way to get involved in volunteer work, and a great way to connect more with other people.”
Raahim Zaafar, the Charity Week Vice Representative is very passionate about the inclusivity that comes along with every Charity Week campaign. “Charity Week really manages to bring together different communities in St Andrews like St Andrews Coexistence and JSoc, with our common goals to do good and achieve something worthwhile.”
“Last year we went on a Ben Lomond hike to raise money for charity. I saw it as an opportunity to combine a thing that I loved doing with something noble. Seeing the effort put in by everyone and how motivated everyone was during the hike just shows how much everyone cares.”
Zaafaar has had many memorable experiences from bucketing for Charity Week as well. “For instance, last year I saw people who had been living on the street donate money completely nonchalantly and just walk on. It’s an incredibly humbling experience and the atmosphere among the volunteers is always buzzing.”
For those who want to get involved, there are plenty of ways to do so. “People can get involved by volunteering at events, as bakers, salesman, or cooks. People can also get involved merely by attending events, such as by going on the hike or coming to quiz night,” says Ollie.
Those who are interested in volunteering, or who would like more information about the event are welcome to get in touch via the STAMSA Facebook page or by emailing Ollie Hoskins at [email protected] or Raahim Zaafar at [email protected].