The Good Guys: SpinningTop comedy shows raise a fantastic £6,411 for our work with Rohingya refugees
SpinningTop is a charity based in Wellington, New Zealand, which originally grew out of Children on the Edge UK. While they are no longer called ‘Children on the Edge NZ’, they still adhere to the same vision to ‘help forgotten children living on the edge of their societies across the globe’. In their case, they aim to “give balance to vulnerable children”.
Over the past year, the charity has raised £6,411 for our work with the Rohingya, and are currently looking at how they might be able to partner with us in the future to make even more impact. Until this year they have worked predominantly either side of the Thai/Burma border with a couple of small projects in Shan State and another in Samoa.
After the escalation of the Rohingya refugee crisis in August 2017, they decided they wanted to do something for Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh. So they approached Children on the Edge about a one-off donation to help with our education work in the camps.
They raised these funds primarily through their well established comedy show, called ‘The Good Guys’. This has been running annually for the past eleven years as part of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival and features an all-star line-up of comedians who donate a set, with all proceeds going to SpinningTop.
“This is my favourite gig of the year,” says comedian Michele A’Court. “A bunch of comedy mates getting together to turn jokes into something actually useful.”
SpinningTop Manager Annie Fischer says she is humbled year after year that such a star-studded line-up agree to be part of their show. “Instead of taking a much-needed break between their own festival shows, these incredibly generous comedians donate their time and talent for this special event.”
SpinningTop are the charity of choice for The Body Shop New Zealand - who cover their wages and provide them with an office. Because of this, 100% of the money they fundraise goes directly to the projects they support.
Rachel Bentley, International Director at Children on the Edge says “We’re very pleased to reconnect with SpinningTop since the days of working together on the Thai-Burma border. Both organisations were sparked into being by the same vision from Anita Roddick, to focus on those children who are the most vulnerable, and we’re looking forward to seeing what can be achieved in the future”.
Find out more the history of SpinningTop and Children on the Edge
Read about our work with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
In the last few days Storm Norma has hit Lebanon with heavy rains, snowfall and freezing temperatures, leaving an estimated 70,000 refugees in need of emergency assistance.
Lebanon hosts over 1.5 million Syrian refugees, many of whom live in informal settlements with little to no infrastructure, as official refugee camps are not permitted. This makes these kinds of crises difficult to address, and UNHCR’s Interagency Coordination group report that 361 informal settlements and 11,301 refugees have been impacted by the storm so far. Unfortunately, the body of an 8 year old girl reported missing on Wednesday 10th January was recovered the day after. She had drowned after slipping into a rainwater channel.
For over four years, Children on the Edge have been supporting a small Lebanese organisation called Triumphant Mercy, to provide education for 500 Syrian refugee children, living in informal settlements the Bekaa Valley. They are also instrumental in providing additional support, care and supplies for the children and families living in these camps.
When the areas they work in were hit by the storms this week, this dedicated local group responded immediately, and Children on the Edge are urgently appealing for donations to assist them in rebuilding shelters.
Project leader Nuna Matar says, "All the refugees who are living under tents, or who are living in unfinished buildings were really severely hit by this storm...some of the tents are like shacks, so the winter snow is heavy on the roof, and some of them had their roofs collapse on them, so they had to find refuge in neighbouring tents and they had to rebuild, again”.
Many families have had mattresses, bedding, clothing and food destroyed and some tents are completely underwater. Children on the Edge are currently raising funds to pay for wood and plastic to help with rebuilding.
Nuna and her team are visiting the camps to provide help, but they struggle to get across the mountains from Beirut because of the heavy snow. Another storm is expected next week and they urgently need support to help affected families. 315 sites in the Bekaa area alone are at risk of further flooding and/or the accumulation of snow.
Nuna says, “There’s just not enough food, clothing, and shelter. Getting donor support for Lebanon has been challenging because the Syrian refugee crisis has fallen off the front page.”
You can support the appeal by visiting http://bit.ly/lebanonstorm
* Update 16/01/19*
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, yesterday we were able to send $1,000 to our partners in Lebanon. Today they have already began distributing warm jumpers and blankets in the storm-hit refugee camp (see photos below).
Project leader Nuna Matar said "I went yesterday to the camps to check how people are coping with Norma storm that hit Lebanon few days ago. And what I have seen is flooded tents, wet belongings and in some cases ruined tents. Another storm is also hitting today so I wanted to do the trip before roads are blocked with ice and snow.
We tried to help as much as possible distributing warm clothes for the children and opening up one of our schools as a shelter. I know we can do more. I received yesterday several calls from neighbouring camps begging us to come and help. We are so grateful that we are able to respond in some small way."
Thank you to everyone who has shared our social media posts and donated.