Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Help Solidarity to raise 5,000 euros at the Multi Kulti Festival

The Solidarity Subcommittee has raised almost 4,000 euro for a water irrigation project in Bolivia. At the Multi-Kulti Festival on January 28, which Solidarity is organizing together with the Stage Committee and National Events Subcommittee, the association hopes to raise part of the remaining 5,000 euro. ESJ spoke to Inga, the communications officer of the Solidarity Subcommittee. Inga studied politics in the UK and is currently doing a traineeship with DG Regio in the European Commission.

Why did you decide to become involved in the Solidarity Subcommittee?

I wanted to join the subcommittee for Solidarity because it best matched my personal interests; I have been interested in Humanitarian Aid and Human Rights for many years. I used to work with refugees for example, and I volunteered for Amnesty International. Since Solidarity was the only subcommittee devoted specifically to volunteering I decided to sign up for that one. As the communications officer I communicate with the stage committee and the porte-paroles. But I also do more hands-on tasks such as helping out at parties and I hope to provide pictures for the photography exhibition.

What is the main aim of the Solidarity SC?

Our main goal is to increase awareness on social and humanitarian issues. Each traineeship period, the subcommittee chooses one or more projects for which it raises funds. Our group has chosen to fund "Colquechaca", a project which aims to provide irrigation and drinking water to two villages in Bolivia. The project was chosen from a list of almost 30 projects, all of which aim to reduce poverty, but this one stood out because it focuses on Latin America, rather than Africa or India (where most other projects were located). This project also appealed to people because the budget of 9.300 euro is a challenging yet manageable goal for fundraising. 9.300 euro may sound like a lot of money, but the previous group of trainees managed to raise 8000 euro.

Can you tell me a bit more about the "Colquechaca" project?

Colquechaca is actually a region in Bolivia, North of Potosi. The project was initiated by Father André Verheylewegen, a priest and doctor, who is responsible for the parish of Colquechaca. Father Verheylewegen wants to build an irrigational system and a system supplying drinking water in the peasant communities of Toruro and Qota. At the moment, drinking water is very scarce and people try to use cloths to tie pipes which can transport the water from the small water tank to the villages. The project foresees in providing a bigger water tank for both communities and making the necessary adjustments and work to properly install the pipes and to ensure their durability.

The Solidarity Subcommittee works together with Europe Third World, which provides support for 25 to 30 projects each year. What does this collaboration look like?

We work very closely with Europe Third World: they had evaluated all 30 projects that were on the list we could choose from, so the project in Bolivia had already approved by them. Additionally, the Solidarity Subcommittee will help Europe Third World with the evaluation of future projects. Each week on Tuesday, a few trainees join the ETW meeting and they have a few months to evaluate a specific project. The evaluation process consists of things like contacting references and checking the credibility. At the end, the trainees give their opinion on whether or not the project should receive funding.

How much money have you raised so far and how did you accomplish this?

We have raised nearly 4,000 Euros by now through several initiatives and events. We've had a Bolivia-themed night, a pub quiz, a raffle, carol singing and cookbook selling campaigns as well as work at cloakrooms during Stage parties. The most successful events were the Bolivian night and the pub quiz.

Which events were the most successful? How do you plan to raise the remaining 5,000 euro?

Our next major event is the Multi Kulti festival which, hopefully, will attract crowds of stagiaires and which will be the most memorable event for all of us. The night will be divided into two parts – the food fair and the party. At the food fair we will have around 20 stalls with food and drinks, representing different European and other countries. We have also prepared many surprises and activities, and all the money collected through the ticket sale will go towards the project.

By Eve Beurskens