In September 2011, SOS Children individual giving coordinator Lottie Riddle approached the university volunteering webpage asking if anyone would be interested in starting up a student society. Annalise Baker, a student at the University of Manchester, and now the president of the SOS Children supporters group, responded to the call to action. “The reason I chose to support SOS Children’s work over that of any other charity is because of the sheer size of the organisation,” she says.
Annalise contacted Lottie, who put her in touch with fellow students Vicky and Dongjing, who had also expressed an interest in getting involved. The students met up, recruited additional volunteers and set about collecting enough signatures to receive the status of a bronze-level official university society, which they recently achieved. This means that they receive funding for each member of the society and can use university facilities for meetings.
The supporters group will specifically contribute to SOS Children’s work in Chipata, in Zambia’s eastern province. A new SOS Children’s Village is currently under construction here, which will provide a home and a family for over 100 children who have no one to care for them. Annalise says: “I like the way they look after the children in a safe family environment with their own dedicated SOS mother.”
The group organised their first fundraising event which took place on 13th March. They held a gig with a variety of performances from local bands (see photo, right). The event was a success and they managed to raise over £363.55 for SOS Children’s work. Annalise says: “We were really pleased with this amount as it was our first big event.”
The group have also set up stalls within the Student Union and at the University Science and Engineering fair over the last few months, where they were able to raise awareness of SOS Children and hand out leaflets. They also promote their supporter’s group on social media. The group are already organising their next event. After Easter they are planning to hold a raffle, donating all proceeds from the tickets to SOS Children. Annalise says: “I have really enjoyed the work I have done within this supporters group and am looking forward to watching it grow as a more established society within the university throughout the coming year.”
Get involved at University!
There are many ways in which you can support SOS Children at University. From setting up a supporter’s group, to holding a fundraising or awareness event or becoming a volunteer, your enthusiasm will help to change children’s lives.
SOS Children’s new Village in Chipata, Zambia, will be home to children left alone because of poverty and disease. Find out how you can be part of Chipata