On Friday 31st May, Leeds Friends of Syria (LFS) were delighted to work alongside the Humanitarian Group for Syria (HG4S) and the Help for Syria campaign in organizing events for Global Syria Solidarity Day 2013. The day was a culmination of months of planning, including a very enjoyable and creative banner making workshop. With about ten dedicated and passionate volunteers, during the day we were able to raise over £900 for the charity Hand in Hand for Syria.
Through the day, LFS were able to sell all of the extremely delicious home-made cakes that our volunteers had prepared, as well as doughnuts, wristbands, and keyrings, at several stalls set up across the Leeds University campus. We were pleased to collaborate with the Leeds University Islamic Society, who allowed several of our volunteers to sell items at their cultural centre, and who also donated money they collected after Jummah prayers. As everyone had finished exams there was a very lively and relaxed atmosphere on what was luckily a very sunny day, and we are extremely grateful to everyone for giving their time and energy to the Syrian cause.
We would like to express our thanks to HG4S for supporting our activities. Following our fundraising activities, we were very happy to hold a joint event with them which included a short film showing and a Q&A session. We at LFS firmly believe that collaboration between groups is absolute essential to maximise success, and in Leeds have worked alongside a wide range of student groups to ensure the greatest amount of participation and teamwork. We believe this is essential if we are to be successful in raising large amounts of charitable funds in a university setting, and to promote greater awareness of the situation within Syria.
Working with other university groups, in cities such as Bradford, Manchester, and London, is also very central to our activities. By working together, we can both reduce total organizational costs and increase the impact of what we do by sharing resources and ideas. We are very impressed with how HG4S is building stronger links between various national and local groups, and in particular though the Help for Syria campaign, and we wish them continued success in the future.
After a year of exciting and successful activities, Global Syria Solidarity Day marks the end of our activities during this academic year in Leeds. Our activities have included taking part in Human Rights Week and organizing two panel discussions (one with LUU Amnesty International, the other with various political student groups such as Leeds Labour Students), the Salsa for Justice event (organized with Engage Leeds Speakers Forum and Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group), a film showing in Leeds Picture House of The Battle of Aleppo and a director’s talk with Pierre Piccinin da Prata, who has unfortunately has been missing in Syria since April. Other events have included discussion events with various speakers, barbecues, flashmobs, protests, knitting classes and Arabic lessons for charity.
With a sponsored run upcoming in July, and activities such as a sponsored skydive planned for the summer to raise money for charity, as well as a range of events planned for Fresher’s Week in September, LFS look forward to continuing our work for Syria. We hope to collaborate further with groups such as HG4S to try and make sure that we can raise as much money for charity and spread as much awareness as possible going forward into the future.