Sometimes it takes just one image of another persons suffering to trigger a global response for help.
Although thousands have risked their lives to gain sanctuary in Europe recently, the picture of a small Syrian boy washed up on a beach in Turkey this year spoke volumes, embedding the crisis firmly in the conscience of the general public around the globe. Following this desperate incident, people were eager to do what they could to make a difference in Syria, preventing more children and their families from the same fate.
Brandwave organised a rather unique charity event by the name of ‘Row4Syria’ in order to raise funds and awareness to help those worst effected by the Syrian refugee crisis. From humble beginnings, the event quickly grew in size, far exceeding all expectations.
Brandwave Founder, Daniel Macaulay, recalls how it all came about:
In September this year, the refugee crisis hit the headlines once again. Every news program and online platform was plastered with extremely upsetting images of people trying to reach the shores of Europe, risking death and the lives of their own children to flee a worse hell in their home countries. Most people we knew wanted to help but really didn’t know how to practically to reach out.
Over a lunchtime conversation, we decided to do something a bit different to raise as much awareness and money as possible. Being a sports marketing agency, raising money through sport seemed obvious. We wanted this thing to be accessible for all ages and abilities, to function no matter what the weather and run continuously day and night for two days. One quick board meeting later and Row4Syria was born.
Our chosen charity was ‘Hand In Hand For Syria’, one of the few charities out there to work on the ground in Syria itself. From the first minute to the last hour, this event really took on a life of its own and the atmosphere was buzzing! From overly enthusiastic amateurs right the way through to professional athletes, I was touched by the generosity, enthusiasm and compassion people poured into those 2 days. I’d like to say thank you to all of the Brandwave team, who stepped up to run the event, and also to everybody who took part and donated.
If it was the other way around, and we were forced to flee the UK for similar circumstances, I would like to believe that someone out there more fortunate would go out of their way to save my family too.
The concept was simple… donate £25, row for half an hour and do something to instantly raise funds for the Syrian crisis. Filling the spots during the day was pretty straight forward, but finding people to row at 3am was a little more challenging. We needn’t have worried – the event was promoted in local newspapers and various radio stations, after which the bookings came flooding in.
The rowing seat was kept warm for the entirety of the event, participants almost sat on each other in their enthusiasm to keep the chain whirring. After a matter of hours, the office was decorated with takeaway boxes and items of sports kit, and music was pumping out across the desolate industrial estate throughout the early hours of the morning. The sun came up and work continued as normal at Hilton Park, all apart from Unit M4 of course where the chaos remained.
To check out all of the action from the Row4Syria event, check out the full video below: