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Volunteering and Community Work

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Devsoc Volunteering / Community Work

 

As the first term of University comes to an end, we wanted to talk about some of the volunteering and community-focused activities that Devsoc has been involved in this year and give some more information about the charities/NGOs we have raised money for 
 

As a society, Devsoc has always been very passionate and active in raising money for the local community and supporting various local projects, charities and NGOs. Last year we committed our fundraising to Fareshare Sussex, managing to raise a lot of money and awareness on the topic of food waste throughout the year. This was very important for us because it allowed us to cooperate with a local charity project that redistributes surplus food from the food industry to organisations working with hungry and vulnerable people in Brighton and Sussex.

Devsoc has been very lucky this year for having a specific spot in our committee for a fundraising officer, therefore ensuring that there is a specific committee member who constantly oversees our fundraising activities and community work. We also have a very active committee, who have been committed to fundraising in new, fun and interactive ways! This has made raising money and awareness more fun for us, but hopefully also more educational and informative for our members. We have managed to work more closely with the organisations we are fundraising for and to learn more about them, with some of the charities (local, national and international) committing to meeting with us and giving us a speech in the second term.

 

Local Community Work

In the local community, we have worked with two different charities/projects to raise money and awareness about the issues they hope to tackle:

Firstly, we visited the Real Junk Food Project on Friday the 26th of October. The Real Junk Food Project is a national and international movement of cafes, projects and pop-ups with one core objective: to intercept food waste destined for landfill and use it to feed people who need it, on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis. After working closely with the people who run the project at One Church, where the local Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) was serving up lunches, we managed to gather many Devsoc members to join us for a "fundraiser lunch". We managed to raise £60 for them, which was very important for the sustainability of the project, as they informed us that they only managed to raise £5 the previous week. 

In the local community, we also worked with RISE, a Sussex-based charity that supports people affected by domestic abuse and violence.
We did this through an interactive game, which tested the knowledge of players on issues of sexual consent, harassment and violence. Players who got all questions right won a little prize and, at the same time, helped us raise funds for RISE. This took place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign taking place annually, which the Students' Union and Devsoc proudly support. Furthermore, because the weather did not allow for us to raise as much as we would have liked, we have decided to have a bucket for RISE in all future events this term and try to raise as much money as possible for them. Try your luck at winning a t-shirt or poster for a small donation while supporting Rhino Revolution and DevSoc! 
 

Volunteering for Bigger National or International Charities

One of the most fun fundraisers we held this term was for Rhino Revolution! #RhinoRevolution is an organisation actively working to stop Rhino Poaching in South Africa. Rhino Revolution was funded by the concerned citizens of Hoedspruit, who came together to try and reduce the escalating poaching crisis in this critically important rhino conservation area. What started as a community-based action group, is now an internationally recognised NPO and proudly supports rhino conservation through rigorous anti-poaching activities, conservation awareness programmes and now the provision of a world-class rhino orphanage. This is particularly important as the fate of Africa's Rhino grows ever more serious, with the poaching onslaught that started in 2008 leaving the iconic animal teetering on the edge of extinction. Members tried their luck at winning a t-shirt or poster for a small donation, while supporting Rhino Revolution and raised around £80 to help them keep on doing their great work! 

What's next?

Another fundraiser this month will bring together development students to join us on Friday 30th November in Room76 for a musical Odyssey in the name of Development. The event is a fundraising social event called "Disco for Development" and at £3 per person, all proceeds are going to Evidence Action! Evidence Action scales evidence-based and cost-effective programs to reduce the burden of poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Their approach fills the gap between research about what works and solutions for people in need. They operate in ten countries across the globe and positively impact the lives of hundreds of millions every year in a measurable way. 

We will also be hosting a documentary screening to inform students of the dangers of the dangers of voluntourism. We organised the event in collaboration by Better Care Network and ReThink Orphanages and it is a screening which is meant to change the opinions of students on volunteering and create a change of attitude from these students. The documentary is called ‘The Love You Give’ and it follows the untold stories of orphanages, a system that’s harming the very children we believe it protects, and how you can choose to be part of the solution. The screening is meant to change the way students think about volunteering and to help stop the harmful system of voluntourism.

We also want to work with other charities next term to promote awareness of other issues. Two topics we have discussed bringing up in our community work next term are mental health and the environment. Especially close to the exam period next term we would like to take steps to promote the mental health of our members, particularly through workshops on mental health and distress activities. Furthermore, we would like to work with Fareshare again on Go Green Week to raise more awareness on the topic of food waste. Finally, as the weather improves, we would like to organise a beach clean with a local charity or community group that organises them frequently.

 

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If you would like to learn more about the charities, community organisations and NGOs that were mentioned in this article, look up the following links:

Fareshare Sussex: http://faresharesussex.org.uk/

Real Junk Food Project: http://www.realjunkfoodbrighton.co.uk/

RISEhttps://www.riseuk.org.uk/ 

Rhino Revolutionhttp://www.rhinorevolution.org/ 

Evidence Actionhttps://www.evidenceaction.org/

The Love You Givehttp://www.loveyougive.org/

 

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