Raising funds for 'Help4Refugees'

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Organising ‘The Journey to Home’ was the first major task that my friends and I had carried out as members of the Head Girl’s Team. We were very keen to support Help4Refugees* after we first met the founder, Jordan Hattar. I planned this charity fundraising event along with Alice de Wesselow, Amber Dunne, Olivia Guy Jenkins and Sophie West.  As we had been planning the event since May, the days leading up to the event were inevitably stressful.

Lizzie, Katharine and I welcomed Jordan on Friday afternoon. He spoke about how happy he was to be back in our school; he had regarded St Mary’s as one of the most memorable places that he had visited. Similarly, we had also treasured Jordan’s first visit as well as the stories he shared with us, hence we had invited him to return to speak to a larger audience at this event.

The evening started off with canapés and drinks served by Mrs Thomas in Red Hall, which was beautifully decorated with artworks created by Adrianna, Bella, Clemency, Elsa, Lucy, Nina, Rosie and Zara. Lucy Bradley had created a wonderful piece of art specifically for the event (pictured in the first group photo)- a drawing of an Afghan refugee girl called Gullakhta that was inspired by Muhammed Muheisen's photograph and which captures the beauty and resilience of the refugees in one image. This time served as a great opportunity for guests to mingle, bid on artwork and to speak to Jordan beforehand.

The evening was punctuated by readings of poems by Georgia, Shubha, Elisabeth and Iona (UV). There were also musical performances by the Junior Choir, Jessica (UVI) and Leah (MIV), accompanied by Mr Totney, our Head of Keyboard Studies. Speaker and founder of Help4Refugees, Jordan Hattar, then addressed the audience. Jordan gave a heart-warming speech and amazed everyone present. I had heard Jordan speak before, so I was very happy that he was able to share his story with more people through this event.

For me, the highlight of the evening was speaking to Omar, a Syrian doctor, on Skype. Omar is one of the few doctors remaining in Syria. He communicated the problems faced by Syrians to us; hearing from Omar himself showed us the urgency of the situation. A problem that he highlighted was the lack of midwives and for this reason, all the money we raised from the event (£5,600) will be going towards a Syrian midwife-training centre.

I am extremely happy that this event was a success. I am grateful to members of the school community for supporting us throughout the planning process, to parents for attending and donating generously and most importantly, to Jordan for returning and sharing the story of thousands of Syrians.

As Jordan rightly said, our actions might be ‘a drop in the ocean’, however this ‘drop’ is someone else’s entire ocean.

Farida (Head Girl)

* For further information about Help4Refugees, please visit their website