As a member of the fundraising team at the AMAR Foundation for almost a year, I love that each day in this job brings new tasks and interesting opportunities. In 2017, AMAR are delighted to be celebrating our 25th Anniversary.
After starting out as a limited, week-long appeal, (the Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees, or AMAR Appeal), the charity has grown to become one of the most efficient and accomplished in providing healthcare, education and mental health support in the Middle East.
By employing staff from within their communities, and by using local, sustainable resources, AMAR ensures that over 90 percent of all funds raised go straight towards our projects in the field. I wouldn’t – and probably couldn’t – work for a more effective charity.
For me however, the best thing about my job in fundraising is our supporters. They are dedicated, enthusiastic and creative, finding new, often eccentric ways to raise money.
LSE Middle East Society have hosted two comedy nights in central London; charity is still charity even if you nearly wet yourself laughing. Other LSE students hitchhiked from London to Warsaw, raising thousands of pounds for our mental health support workers in northern Iraq.
Above all, the most popular way in which people choose to fundraise for AMAR is through our summer Challenge Events. To celebrate our 25th Anniversary this year, we have entered runners for the Bristol Half-Marathon, the London 10K, the Norfolk 10K and the Manchester 10K.
Having four different races is the most that we have ever entered in one summer and is testament to the growing success of the work that we do. In fact, in Manchester and Norfolk, this is also the first time anyone has ever run for AMAR at all.
To see the dedication and the enthusiasm of all our runners is always inspiring. Between them they have raised money to support medical operations for hundreds of Iraqis who have fled ISIS violence in Mosul.
In total, our Team AMAR runners will run an incredible 122 km in 2017 – the same distance as from our London office to the Isle of Wight, or from Baghdad to Iran! If you want to get fitter, or tour some of the most famous landmarks in the UK, there is still space to join us at the London 10K on 9 July.
It’s always delightful to see new people get involved with AMAR, in whatever way they can. Being a fundraiser is not always about enduring hardship or braving embarrassment but instead about dedication and enthusiasm.
Fundraising can mean finding something that you are good at or passionate about and using it to help others. For example, Philip Juma, a British-Iraqi chef, has been working with AMAR to create our My Baghdad Kitchen project; supporters are encouraged to get together and cook traditional Iraqi food, with recipes provided by Philip.
My Baghdad Kitchen allows us to enjoy delicious meals whilst collecting money for AMAR’s Ramadan food distribution boxes, so that disadvantaged communities in Iraq can also gather together around the table to break their fast.
So if you also want to get involved with AMAR, please join us! From hosting a belly-dance night in Wales to orienteering in the Scottish Highlands, I get to spend my day helping supporters create their own, personal fundraising experience.
If you have any ideas for an event you’d like to organise, or you would just like to know more about our work, visit our website at https://www.amarfoundation.org/support-amar/ or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written by Wil Hutton, who discovered his love for the Middle East when he spent six months working in Oman after leaving college. He went on to study Arabic and Politics at the University of Leeds, including ten months living in Morocco. Wil’s enthusiasm for helping others is at the heart of his work and he works to bring a creative, youthful approach to AMAR’s fundraising efforts.