24 March 2011

Fundraising: Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Aid

 A massive earthquake, the seventh largest recorded in history, struck the east coast of Japan on Friday 11 March.

The earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, triggered a tsunami which hit the east coast of Japan with 7-metre-high waves, leaving a trail of destruction. More than 10,000 people have died in the disaster. The earthquake triggered fires and caused severe damage to buildings, leaving 1.2 million homes without electricity and 1.4 million without water. Food, water and fuel are in desperately short supply.

A friend of mine, Camille, decided that we should hold a fundraiser in order to begin to help the people of Japan. We decided to donate the money to two charities: The Red Cross and Save the Children.

The fundraising began in a small way, simply asking for donations in return for an origami peace crane. However, it quickly developed a life of its own & escalated (with our help) into something bigger. Our team (comprising Camille, Zoe (a friend and coursemate), Jen (from the International Student Services at UoB, and me), with support from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and staff at UoB, have transformed this into a fundraising event that is bringing the UoB campuses, students and staff together.

Instead of simply asking for a donation we thought that it would be great to continue with the usual donations, but to also add a more 'hands-on' approach to fundraising, as Zoe stated, " putting the Fun in Fundraising!" We, with help from other volunteers (friends, coursemates) offered to teach people how to make origami peace cranes in return for a small donation. It is now the 5th day and it has been a highly successful and fun experience: not only because we have done so well raising money for the survivors in Japan, but also because we have brought people together and made new friends.  To top it all, Santander have offered to match whatever we collectively raise and add it as a donation - this really is the icing on the cake. 

Day one of the FUNdraising at UoB: A family of giant peace cranes
We (the volunteers) made lots of peace cranes which we gave as thanks for donations, but we have decided to keep those cranes that were made (under our instruction) by the people donating. We have begun to string up all of these multi-coloured paper birds, and on Friday 25th March at 12.00 we will be holding a 'ceremony', hanging the strings of cranes from a tree within the University grounds (Grand Parade Campus), creating a beautiful installation. Photos and more (from the ceremony) to come!

For photos of the fundraising so far, please click on the title of this post.

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