By completing my activity I achieved my aim of raising as much money as possible for the Asian earthquake appeal. Overall I raised i??83. 40 which will be very helpful for those working on re-supplying and rebuilding the affected areas. I also got to experience how Muslims feel when they fast all day, and on a very small scale, how those who have to starve everyday feel. This has helped me to understand the suffering that some people in the world have to endure every single day. While planning my activity I learnt that even a small charity raising event takes up a large amount of time, and many problems can be encountered.
Problems I had included; finding a time and place it was suitable to fast, convincing people to sponsor me and finding an acceptable method of actually donating the money. I struggled to secure sponsors because people are often being asked for money which leads to compassion fatigue when people are tired of giving money away to charity, even though it’s for a good cause if they gave money away every time they were asked then they would end up giving away a large part of their income. This leaves it down to me to convince people that my cause is particularly worthy of their donations even if they wouldn’t normally donate.
My research has taught me a lot about a few things. I learnt a lot about the Asian earthquake itself from the British Red Cross website, such as death figures, injury figures, which charities are involved and what kind of aid is needed. I also found out a lot about the culture of Islam, and the period of Ramadan. The plan itself was carried off fairly smoothly; the only slight hitches were the difficulty of securing sponsorship and then collecting the money, with people forgetting about their promises to sponsor me. However these situations were all dealt with, ensuring that they did not affect my overall activity in any major way.
The day of the activity worked well, with the plan being carried out effectively and I enjoyed myself in the process. The only slight problem on the day was Louis oversleeping by 20 minutes, meaning he only arrived at 8 20. An aspect of my plan that did not work so well was the plan to collect sponsor money from neighbours, people were reluctant to give money out to someone cold calling, even though I stated the cause people found it hard to invest in the activity because if they wanted to donate money they would have done it directly themselves, rather than through me.
However I still did manage to secure a few sponsors from my neighbourhood, as shown on the application form. I think the few sponsorships that I secured in my neighbourhood was because of the reputation of the charity (as shown by the questionnaire) and therefore trusting me and the charity for the money to go to the right place. By doing my activity I have helped people on the other side of the world. I have contributed to the relief effort of the biggest natural disaster of the year. My activity has helped the British Red Cross in their attempts to help those affected in Pakistan and India.
I would definitely consider doing an activity like this in the future. I enjoyed the activity itself even though I was feeling very hungry towards the end, and also enjoyed the fact I was raising money for a god cause and helping those who are less fortunate than me. If I was to repeat the activity I would however, try and make some changes to my activity. I would fast for longer, 5 days would work well as then I would be feeling what it is like to fast over a longer period of time, and how my energy levels would be affected at the end of the 5 days.
I wasn’t able to do this for my original activity because of my busy schedule, being in year 11 it is important that I am running at full strength, as not being able to concentrate at school or when working at home could be detrimental to my final GCSE grades. I would also advertise the activity so that I could get more sponsors and raise more money for charity if I was to do it again. As part of my advertisement campaign I would put up posters, hand out leaflets and contact a local newspaper in an attempt to get the story published. This would generate more interest in my activity so people would be more willing to sponsor me.
I would also consider doing a different activity in order to raise money for charity. After raising money for charity I felt very good about myself, as I knew I had done a selfless act that would be helping people that don’t affect me at all. Some activities I could look into doing would be; a sponsored silence (I would challenge myself not to speak for a day), a sponsored run (either part of an individual run, or one of the many fun runs that take place throughout the year) or a sponsored “no electricity week” (I would attempt to live for a week without any form of electricity).
As an extension to my citizenship activity I could have not just raised money for the British Red Cross I could also have raised awareness in my local community about the charity and it’s work which could in turn have led to more donations. To do this I could have put up posters, handed out leaflets either in the streets or by knocking on local residents doors.
The information handed out could include basic background information about the Red Cross, previous work they have carried out, information about the Asian Earthquake disaster, how the Red Cross has dealt with the disaster and of course information on how to contact and donate to the Red Cross. Because there were just two people (Me and Louis) in my group for my citizenship coursework we both had to take responsibility for the whole project as we decided it would be better to work as a team throughout, rather than delegate roles.
We decided this because although working on separate parts of the activity would be less time consuming, we wanted to make sure the activity was planned and carried out the best it could be. I think that one of the best contributions I made to the activity was on the day itself, I handled the fast a lot better than Louis, and helped him to make it through the day by encouraging Louis to carry on with positive comments, helping him to get to 8pm without having to eat or drink anything. Another part I did well was the actual donating the money.
The donation was done online, because I am a lot more comfortable with computers the Louis I handled most of this, corresponding with the charity via email and their website. This avoided the complications of phone donations or cheques’, meaning the donating of the money was a lot quicker and easier. I did struggle when it came to acquiring sponsors and collecting the money in. I found it difficult to approach people asking for money, even though it was for a good cause. Luckily, Louis was very good at collecting sponsors, and helped me by encouraging me to be confident, and giving me tips on what to say and how to act.
This was Louis’ biggest contribution to the activity, without Louis I would have no doubt raised a lot less money than I did with him. As I mentioned earlier though, Louis struggled on the day itself, finding it difficult to go without food for the whole day. This could have been for many reasons, it could have been as simple as the amount of food we had eaten in the days leading up to the activity, or possibly because I was mentally stronger than Louis, allowing me to phase out the feeling of hunger. To find out what people thought of our activity we constructed a questionnaire, the results of which, can be found enclosed.
I have also gathered evidence that we took part in the activity, all of which are enclosed with the coursework. The evidence consists of a photo of us on the day of the activity, an email verifying the donation to the British Red Cross, a signed statement from my mother to say that we did not eat all day and the sponsor form I used to record sponsorships. The relief effort itself could easily have been improved. Because the relief effort has come from various places it was difficult for the aid to be given out equally and the majority of the affected areas were cut off from major communication lines, making it difficult to bring aid in.
The Pakistani government have done their best to co-ordinate the efforts from various workers and charities but I believe that more could have been done if they reacted quicker in mobilising their relief and calling in the help to specific areas rather than letting people make their own way there – resulting in chaos. I also believe that the government are not doing enough to reassure their citizens of the work they are doing, this causes the citizens to panic more than they need to, making the relief effort even harder than it is already.
The final problem with the Pakistani’s relief is that they have put the emphasis too much on getting relief into the country, rather than spreading it around the country. It’s at the point where the relief is actually struggling to get into the country due to the congested airports, but the relief isn’t actually getting anyway because there isn’t enough resources to move the relief to the areas that need it, meaning the relief more often than not is ending up in a warehouse somewhere near the airport at which it arrived.
After reading about the work that the British Red Cross I am thoroughly impressed by the way their work is carried out in the most stressful of situations, right at the heart of many of the biggest disasters of our time their relief efforts have been quick, well co-ordinated and efficient. However I do believe there is room for improvement when it comes to raising money.
In these modern times people are often too lazy to actively seek out a way of donating money, however if the British Red Cross put money into advertising in newspapers, TV adverts and volunteers on the streets then I believe that they will get there money back soon enough by the extra donations they believe. I believe this because of the recent survey I carried out which found that the majority of people would be interested in donating to the Asian Earthquake appeal, but just 17% have actually donated to the British Red Cross, showing that donating money simply isn’t easy enough for people and needs to be improved.
Overall I would say that my citizenship activity is a good citizenship activity. My activity has increased mine, and others’, awareness of the global situation. By researching into the situation over in Asia this has also increased my awareness of my responsibilities to the others that I share the planet with no matter how far away they are I have a responsibility to give to those less fortunate than myself, whether it be in a time of need or simply to help improve their life.
I have also increased my awareness of the complex work that a global charity such as the Red Cross do. Because I have now learnt about global charity work I think I would definitely be more likely to donate again in the future in order to help global charities. I think that the best thing about my citizenship activity is that I was able to help those in need on the other side of the world, just by acting locally.