On Wednesday 26th February myself, Tom Goodman as the Director of Karnival, and Will Knapp, as the SU Activites officer, travelled to the House of Commons in London as University of Nottingham’s representatives for HOPE for Children’s launch of their new initiative; Your Uni, Their Lives.
HOPE for children is a multi-faceted charity that supports a great many projects internationally, but specifically with student fundraising, East African Street Children. Though the exact number of children who live and work on the street worldwide is impossible to measure, UNICEF believe it’s likely to be in the tens of millions or higher. HOPE work predominantly in Tanzania and Uganda where they use the money fundraised to support poor and exploited children reach their full potential.
Karnival has worked with HOPE for children for several years, and to date has raised £222, 685. 43. Most recently, in 2013, we sent 90 students up Mount Kilimanjaro all in aid of this fantastic charity. It is this experience and the work of ex-Nottingham student Edward Fletcher, who now works for the charity, and current students and HOPE ambassadors, Jack Cowie and Tom Scraton, that has helped inspire this new initiative ‘Your Uni, Their Lives.’ Your Uni, Their Lives aims to connect the students and their own fundraising to what their money is supporting and show the direct impact that fundraising actually has on the East African Street Children they are supporting.
The launch event was a fantastic success. Set in the beautiful venue that is the Speakers Chambers in Portcullis house, students from RAG’s all over the country gathered with other influential guests to support HOPE. There were also a huge amount of ex-Nottingham students there, many of whom had been involved in Karnival during their time here. It was great to see so many people there to support the event and catch up with past and present students alike.
When the main part of the evening began it was opened by the speaker himself the Rt Hon John Bercow. He spoke about how fantastic it was to see so much involvement from so many young people and how he was inspired by the charitable work of students all over the country. He was then followed by touching speeches from Simon Jackman, the CEO of HOPE for Children and Immaculate Kiiza the Ugandan Country Director. Immaculate in particular spoke about how essential it is that we continue to support the work they do in Uganda by fundraising for HOPE and how grateful she was for the all that we already do. However the highlight evening was the final speech made by two of our own students Jack Cowie and Tom Scraton who spoke about their involvement in Your Uni, Their Lives and why it is they have now chosen to continue this legacy by setting up HOPE Soc in Nottingham.
They were inspiring to listen to and I think I speak for all of those that were there when I say we were very proud of how they represented Nottingham. I caught up with them after the event to ask them a few questions about their involvement with HOPE for Children and about the new society they have set up at Uni, HOPE Soc.
Why have you chosen to continue your work with HOPE, by setting up HOPE Soc after completing the Mt. Kilimanjaro trek last summer (2013)?
Tom: After we did our trek we went and visited one of the projects that HOPE for children supports in Moshi. When I left Tanzania and got home I felt like enjoying all of my home comforts and not choosing to try and do something about what I had just seen would have been hypocritical. I wanted to find a way to continue to support HOPE in the work they were doing.
Jack: For me it was having seen the phenomenal impact of our fundraising and actually witnessing first hand the direct consequences it had on the lives of others. It really hit home what we were doing was actually making a difference. Having seen also what such a small amount of money could do for the area, it got me thinking what even more could do to support the lives of the people in Moshi and Arusha in Tanzania.
What would you like to achieve with HOPE Soc at Uni this year and in following years?
Jack: We would like to see more people getting involved purely based on the awareness campaigns that we will be producing. We hope this will lead to students actively wanting to participate in working with HOPE because they can see the merits of working with a charity, rather than just for the benefits of doing a challenge. However we do also want to become a support network for anyone who is doing a challenge for HOPE. We want to ensure there is no way that people doing a challenge will drop out because of issues with their own fundraising.
Tom: Long term we would like to see membership grow steadily each year as more and more people seen the benefits of supporting HOPE. We would also like to see the benefits to students improve through Internship links offered at HOPE and employability workshops. We want to make sure that anyone interested can get involved, even if they have no background in working with HOPE at all. We want to be a society open to all who want to make a positive difference to the lives of disadvantages children.
And have you got anything planned that students can get involved with?
Tom: Well this following week we are running an awareness campaign on campus; HOPE Week. It’s all in the build up to Saturday which is the International Street Children Day. We will be outside the Atrium from Monday to Wednesday with a number of things going on that students can get involved in.
Jack: We are also running a workshop on Wednesday about International Development. It’s being lead by the student fundraising manager for HOPE, Ed Fletcher, and he will be talking about HOPE’s work in East Africa and more. It’s in D138 in Portland building and any students are welcome! Following on from that there is also an information meeting for the Athen’s Marathon in E126 in Portland building at 6.30pm. It’s a fantastic way to get involved and take on a challenge. We already have 4 people signed up but it would be great to see a big group from University of Nottingham involved.
Tom: However probably the simplest way to support HOPE is with the #ChildhoodMemories social media campaign that is launching on Wednesday. Similar the immensely successful #NoMakeUpSelfie the idea is you post a photo of yourself as a child with the message, “Upload your childhood memory. Donate to give a street child their childhood back!” and text HOPE to 70004 to donate £3 to the charity. By sharing your memories from the past you will be raising awareness for East African children and in the process, through donating £3 to HOPE, you will be helping them to give back those memories that we take for granted. We’re hoping with the support of Karnival and other RAG’s all over the country at other Uni’s, we can have this sweeping the nation by Saturday in time for International Day for Street Children.
HOPE Soc is a brand new society. Be sure to like their facebook page, and follow them on twitter. If you would like to get involved then you can message them on facebook or go and chat to them in Portland tomorrow!
by Hannah Schejbal
Karnival Publicity and Campaigns Exec