Islamic Relief’s student fundraising campaign raises highest total so far despite pandemic

26 Nov 2020 News

A student campaign has raised a record £1.4m for Islamic Relief, despite the pandemic stopping most traditional fundraising activities.

Islamic Relief’s Charity Week took place between 26 October and 1 November and saw students from Islamic Societies, schools and colleges top last year’s fundraising total, when the campaign had reached £1.35m.

The campaign was originally launched in London by a group of students in 2003, and has since gone global and raised more than £10m so far. This year, some £878,000 of the total £1.4m was raised in the UK.

Toilet paper raised £1,000

The campaign usually involves a series of community fundraising initiatives, such as dinners and bucket collections.

This time, most of the fundraising was done virtually, with activities such virtual auctions. The 2020 Challenge asked people to take up any activity using the number 20, and fundraise for the charity. Activities included walking, running, cycling, becoming vegan and doing 20 push-ups.

Charity Week’s auctions are also usually held in-person, and often see participants outbidding each other for everyday objects and goods. In 2018, a banana went for £6,000.

This year the auctions moved online for the first time and saw toilet paper selling for £1,000, a hand sanitiser for £600, a cake for £8,000, and a can of fizzy drink for £2,300.

Earlier this year, Islamic Relief said it also had a record-breaking Ramadan, having raised almost a third more than last year despite having to go virtual with most of its fundraising because of lockdown.

‘Truly amazing’

Tufail Hussain, director of Islamic Relief UK, said: “It is truly amazing what has been achieved during Charity Week this year, especially during this difficult time.

“With the challenges of fundraising during the pandemic and not being able to raise money through dinners, treks and bucket collections, our inspiring volunteers from all over the world have still managed to excel and fundraise for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“Every year during Charity Week, I always feel inspired seeing the energy and compassion that young people show for others. It gives me hope for the future. Charity Week is a practical example of what happens when people decide that they will put aside their differences and work together to build a better, more hopeful world.”

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