Some of our fundraisers may inspire you!
People of every age and background are helping to raise money for Hand in Hand for Syria. Whether they’re swimming, singing, running, or fasting, each one has made a personal commitment to help the people of Syria and to raise awareness about the crisis there. We asked a selection of fundraisers why they chose Hand in Hand for Syria and how they have chosen to raise money. Have a look through our gallery; read their stories and be inspired! Could your story be on here soon?
An English teacher from Britain, living in Argentina
British by nationality but half-Syrian by descent, Nadia had only been to Syria once, as a baby: “I’ve always meant to go as an adult, as I know it’s a very beautiful country. So it deeply saddens me that Syria is suffering so much damage and destruction at the moment. When I read an article in The Guardian about the lives of Syrian refugee widows, I knew I had to do something to help. Within half an hour I was signing up for the Buenos Aires half marathon, leaving me only 2 months to train — and I’m not a runner!
“There are many things I like about Hand in Hand for Syria. First, the help seems to be very real and hands-on, on the ground within Syria — getting emergency aid and medical help to people who need it. Secondly, I like the personableness of the charity, including the regular news and photos on their Facebook page. They recently posted photos of one of their ambulances that had been shelled and was past repair. It all feels very real and you know your money is going straight to where it’s needed.
“Training for the race has been tough, and I know I’m going to hurt on the day! But it’s meant to be a big challenge. If it were easy, it wouldn’t have the same symbolic meaning in helping the people of Syria. At least this way, although I’m thousands of miles away, I feel like I’m still able to make a tiny difference”. Nadia raised over £1,000 for us on her JustGiving page.
Student & management consultant, London.
Talha writes: “Every humanitarian catastrophe is worthy of raising money for. But when a conflict is so personal and affects so many people you know directly, that sense of duty is amplified. Just under a year ago, I received a phone call from my father, one I was hoping would never come. Since the start of the revolution, every Syrian has been living with a fear that it would claim the life of someone they know, someone they love, someone they might never see again.
“My father told me that my uncle had been kidnapped and killed in cold blood by the very people who were meant to be protecting him. He was doing his job: driving passengers to and from Homs, except this time his destination was greater than he could have ever wished for — to paradise. I wrote an article dedicated to my late uncle’s memory.
“It’s easy to feel helpless when watching the conflict unfold on our TVs, especially when your family is in the midst of it. Hand in Hand for Syria has been at the forefront of delivering aid to the people most affected by this conflict. I’ve seen myself the fruits of the effort they have put in and the lives they are changing as a result of their work. It is an honour to be given the opportunity to raise money for them as it offers a rare chance to be able to do my bit to help my people.
“On 8 July 2012, my friend Tasif Zaman and I ran the British 10K in London in memory of my late uncle Khaled in an effort to raise money for Syria. We set up a JustGiving page and held various fundraising events to help raise money for the cause. Our initial target was £2,000, but within just 2 days of fundraising we had smashed the target after a few very generous donations. We then raised the bar to £5,000, and achieved a final total of over £6,400. We’re honoured to know so many generous and trusting people!”
A 7-year-old schoolboy from Reading, England
Joseph is an extraordinary young man who raised over £3,000 for us. He says on his JustGiving page: “I was watching Horrible Histories on the news and then I saw some Syrian people who were blurred out and I was asking my dad why. He said it was because they didn’t want bad people to see them and then kill them. So we decided to swim the English Channel to raise money for Syrian people.” Of course, Joseph was too young to swim the channel itself, so he swam the equivalent — 21 miles — in a pool. He started a brilliant blog which talks about all of his preparations and the fundraising done by his school — which raised a further £2,400!
In September 2013, Joseph wrote: “It has been more than a year since I swam the channel to try to help the Syrian people. The sad part is that they still need help even more than they did before. Syria has been on the news a lot lately, but they are not talking about the people. My dad and I went to the shop and bought loads of baby milk and pencils and paper to donate to Hand in Hand for Syria and we went home and picked up my mum and drove into London. They were having a collection day and I got to help load some things into a huge truck that they are going to take to Syria. I hope I will always remember the Syrian people.”
Freelance journalists from England
Louise (pictured) and Jo are freelance journalists; both have young children, and together they set up the Stop Killing Children campaign. They made a video of a protest they organised outside the Syrian Embassy in London on 10 June, following the Houla massacre in which 108 people were killed, including 49 children.
Afterwards, Jo and Louise wanted to do something practical to help. Knowing that babies, children and adults were dying from otherwise survivable injuries due to lack of access to drugs and medical equipment, they decided to raise money for Hand in Hand for Syria. We can use the money they raise to buy these essential supplies and take them to where they’re most needed inside Syria.
Louise and Jo created a JustGiving page to support their raffle, and were amazed and touched by the generosity they saw. The JustGiving page reached £1,000 in the space of 8 days, and totalled well over £6,000 by the end of December 2013. Louise’s blog kept people informed and helped to promote their raffle.
A research analyst from Chichester, England
“I lived in Syria on and off for 3 years and had the most amazing time. I currently work as a risk research analyst providing consultative services to clients operating in remote and/or hostile environments all over the world: formulating, researching, writing and delivering bespoke medical emergency response plans.
“Hand in Hand for Syria smuggles volunteer doctors into Syria to run clinics treating people who can’t go to the government hospitals. They send in food and medicines for people living under siege. They’re a great charity!
“Many Syrians fast (ie don’t eat or drink anything) between dawn and dusk for the Islamic month of Ramadan, and I decided to do the same. I wanted to raise money for food and medicines, or to contribute towards renovating a vehicle to use as an ambulance in the city of Homs — to replace the one destroyed by the government’s artillery.”
Jonathan raised over £1,700 on his JustGiving page.
A 13-year old schoolgirl from Letchworth, England
“I heard about Hand in Hand for Syria through my mum. She received an e-mail from her colleague Rola, who works with the charity, appealing for help. Hand in Hand for Syria said that doctors in Syria needed 3 anaesthetic machines very quickly, so they sent an urgent SOS message to her.
“I wanted to help because I was so horrified by what was happening over in Syria. Mothers, fathers and children were being killed and I couldn’t bear to think that kids my age were dying because they wanted freedom. A lot of Rola’s family were missing; people were being tortured and killed; and her father’s hometown was destroyed. I cried after my mum read the e-mail to me and I vowed to help.
“I decided to do a 2,012-metre swim for charity. I wanted to do 2,012m because the year was 2012 and, because of the Olympics, it was a massive year. I’d only ever done 1,000 metres before, so it was a real challenge! That is 82 lengths! I ended up raising £500 pounds with the help of my family and friends.”
A lawyer from London, now living in Thailand
“I was living Dubai, and having visited Syria before the turmoil began, I was particularly saddened by the reports and news stories coming out of Syria on a daily basis. In Dubai we enjoyed a very privileged and luxurious standard of living, so to be able to help others who are struggling in this political climate meant a lot to me.
“I chose Hand in Hand for Syria after researching the charities set up since the uprisings began in 2011. The work this charity does date is invaluable, on both the humanitarian side and with regards to medical assistance. I hope to be able to fund more of this type of work with the money I raise.
“I decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2012. It was a first for me, and I had to work hard to improve my fitness and prepare for the challenge.”
Katja raised over £500 on her JustGiving page.
A band based in Birmingham
Daniel Sweeney (left), Phill Ward (right), and Russell Collins (drums)
The members of the band Sylvia were moved to use their new single to support Hand in Hand for Syria after they did a charity gig for us in Birmingham in August 2012.
“A very good friend of ours is from Aleppo in Syria,” explained lead singer Daniel Sweeney. “The conflict over there produces atrocities every day, and people are in desperate need of medical and humanitarian aid. The gig, which featured 4 Birmingham bands and singers, raised well over £1,000 but more help is needed, which is why we thought of a charity single.”
Hollowstar was released on 5 October 2012. The band used the release night, held at the Bull’s Head, Moseley, to sell copies of their debut album, Rathea. Half of all the proceeds were donated to Hand in Hand for Syria.
The band has since released its second album and been played on national BBC Radio. Buy the single Hollowstar
On 15 October 2012, Gill Newman (wife of the bishop of Stepney) completed a 20-mile walkathon around the streets of East London, to raise money for our Winter Appeal. She was accompanied by a group of friends connected to the Church of England in Stepney: Rachael Treweek (archdeacon of Stepney); Elizabeth Hatt (member of St Bride’s Church off Fleet Street, where there is a memorial to Marie Colvin); Caz Hughesden (whose husband is a curate in Tower Hamlets); Burnett Brown (whose wife is a vicar in Hackney); and Bob Gilbert (whose wife is a vicar in Tower Hamlets).
Gill told us: “I’ve received many messages from churches to say how moved they are by the plight of people in Syria. Having seen the news coming out of the country for over a year now, I felt I had to do something to try to help, but until I saw Martin Fletcher’s article in the Times mentioning Hand in Hand for Syria, I had no idea who I might approach. I was so pleased to find a charity that could get aid and medical expertise directly to the people who are suffering so terribly, and it really galvanised me to think of a practical way to raise money.
“I asked my husband to talk about it in church to see if I could gather a group of people together to walk with me, and because of the great response, our walkathon only took a couple of weeks to organise. Last Saturday, we all put on our Hand in Hand for Syria t-shirts (over some woollies!) and set off from Mile End at 7.30am. We walked 20 miles around the streets of Stepney, stopping at several churches along the way where we were kindly given refreshments. We finished just before 5pm at St Thomas’s Finsbury Park in Islington, and had a lovely surprise because Fadi from Hand in Hand for Syria had driven over to meet us!”
Gill raised nearly £10,000 on her JustGiving page and Westminster Abbey separately sent us a donation by cheque. The money was spent on winter clothes and bedding for displaced families inside Syria, which we delivered in January 2013.
Find out more about…