With the help of netizens, the Illinois-based Karam Foundation raised a total of $100,347 from an original goal of $10,000 in its “Shave a Mustache, Keep a Syrian Child Warm” virtual campaign that lasted from November 30 to December 4.
The campaign originally yielded a stunning $56,287 by December 3 and in effect won the Razoo Foundation’s #GivingTuesday competition, hence winning an additional $15,000. The donations amount continues to increase to date.
It involved 27 participants and organizers from 12 teams based in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, who competed to raise money by not shaving their movember mustaches.
Proceeds of the campaign will go to creating $20 winter packages for children inside Syria that include a winter coat, a blanket, and a hat, mitten or scarf in each set.
Kareem Omara, one of the organizers, said he was ecstatic to be part of the campaign, adding that having hope can go a long way:
Every single one of you is a beautiful person that has made a difference whether you donated, advertised, or whatever. I mean I'm just some broke college student that can't donate that much, but I found my way to contribute. Don't lose hope and think you can't make a difference. We can all contribute in our own way, no matter how big or how small.
Another organizer, Kenan Rahmani stressed on the need for united efforts to yield the best results:
We are BETTER when we're TOGETHER. Seriously people. The activist community always likes to go in ten directions at once and we hardly ever come together like we did for this campaign. Maybe I am guilty of this too. I completely understand that everyone has their own ideas and they want others to support them.
Mohannad, too, was quite pleased with what they achieved:
70,000? Haha SIKE… scratch that we made over $95,000 <33 I'm so happy
— MohaNNad أبو مازن (@TheMoeDee) December 4, 2013
Syrian columnist Robin Yassin-Kassab, who also participated in the campaign, vouched for the integrity of the organizers, adding that:
I know the organizers of this charity and can vouch that they are absolutely honest, that every single penny will go to keeping a Syrian child warm this winter. Please do donate, and please share this page. We just have a few days to raise as much as we possibly can.
Winter Has Come
Three years into unrest, Syria’s winter is far from dead, and spring is nowhere near. If not the shelling – then the rattling cold will keep Syria’s little angels from sleep at night. In December of 2012, Save the Children organization complied testimonies and photos to document the stark reality Syrian families endure during winter. Quoted in the report, 11-year-old Ali said that while help is provided, it is not enough:
“We have one blanket. We don’t have anything else – even clothes. We received one blanket and there are three of us. How is it going to fit us? How is it going to warm us? It is not enough. We are getting sick – i’m getting sick.”
Earlier last month, Istanbul-based photographer John Wreford said that displaced Syrian families not only endure exile but also have winter to fear:
Huddled in an Istanbul park a couple of Syrian families from Homs, ten very small children, its getting colder each night now.
— John Wreford (@JohnWreford) November 16, 2013
Help is also needed inside Syria, says Homs-based activist Luisa Zangh, who pleaded for humanitarian help:
A humanitarian call. If you want to help, make sure #Syria receives blankets. Still a huge shortage in the north and its cold.
— Luisa Zangh (@LuisaZangh) December 1, 2013
Every penny counts. You can still donate here.