Despite the misery of being stuck far from home by the flight restrictions due to the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, a number of different travellers have decided to use the opportunity to fundraise for charity.
Robin Proctor has been in Istanbul for four days. He has set up the Volcanic Turkey Sweepstake using Virgin Money Giving in aid of his company’s charity of the year, Whizz-Kidz. He is offering a £100 prize to the person who donates via the page and makes the most accurate guess as to how long his journey back to the UK will take.
At the time of writing he had passed his £500 target and raised £2,240 excluding Gift Aid.
Of course, professional fundraisers are amongst those stranded, and a group of them have banded together to use their situation to raise funds for the Zimbabwe Association. Jaap Zeekant from Fondsenwerving magazine in the Netherlands, Per Stenbeck from Water Aid in Sweden, Lyndall Stein from Care in the UK, David Dixon from The Phone Room in the UK, Tony Elischer from Think Consulting in the UK, had all travelled as volunteers to a meeting with Daryl Upsall from DUCI in Madrid to plan activities at this year’s International Fundraising Congress in Holland.
Stuck in Madrid they realised they were a little like refugees “in a strange country, no way of getting home… and away from those we love.”
Of course, they acknowledge that “we are not real refugees; we have contacts, choices and resources… Our status of ‘refugees’ will be very temporary. We’ll manage to get back to where we belong.” They decided to use this opportunity to help those “who are genuinely refugees who really have to endure so much who really are so far from home, so lonely, often so afraid and with so few contact, resources and choices”.
They chose the Zimbabwe Association as the beneficiary having heard Stella, one of its volunteers, speak movingly at the IFC.
So, together, they are urging “each and everyone who is also stuck right now somewhere in the world, being a temporary refugee, to realise this is an excellent occasion to think about the problems of the real refugees, in all parts of the world. This is the time for action and help people who really are in need, many of them for far longer time than us and under far worse circumstances”. They all made donations themselves to kickstart the appeal.
You can follow the progress of the appeal and of the fundraisers’ journey home at