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When East Meets West – Queen Mary North African Society

Sunday 9 September saw the Watan UK team gather at Nadi, Park Royal, for an event that had been over a month in the making. Our Eid With Us event – which, yes, received many remarks of the why-do-all-these-charities-advertise-eid-events-a-month-after-eid? variety – was an opportunity for people from entirely different walks of life to gather and enjoy activities, stalls, and – of course! – performances. The event aimed to raise money for Syrian women and children, as well as prepare a fund for the increasingly tense situation in Idlib.

We thank God first and foremost, and then our incredibly generous donors – the event was a success and we raised thousands of pounds to go to children’s eye operations, supporting orphans, providing vulnerable women with their most basic needs, and money for our Idlib Emergency Appeal. If you missed out on the day and wish you could contribute, head over to our donation page where we take online donations: Donate Now

For a small charity such as ours, the workload on individuals can be immense, and so too the stress. This event was by no means stress-free, but unlike many other that we plan and carry out it was an absolute joy to work on. The reason behind this is clear to everyone in our little office: we had an absolutely brilliant group of volunteers.

In our effort to expand our support base and reach out to more communities, we have started to develop working partnerships with a number of student societies, and of these is the newly set-up North African Society at Queen Mary University. The society’s founding members worked very closely with us on planning and carrying out the Eid With Us event – everything from planning the décor, recruiting stall holders, and being there on the day delivering these plans. But more so than this, this inspiring group of students sacrificed time and effort to come down to our office on a regular basis in the weeks leading up to the event, bringing vigor, personality, and a great deal of laughter along. With them by our side, the regular matter of planning and delivering a fundraising event became a fun and exciting affair.

From Iman’s empathy and quiet diligence, to Lamya’s infectious laugh and magical ability to connect with people, to Shamaa’s vibrancy and courage in the face of the new and the unknown, to Sabrin’s organisational flair and artworks blending traditional calligraphy with bursts of colour, to Anas’ imperturbably chillaxed state and Soumaya’s will and vision to establish and see the partnership through. We were happy to welcome them into our office, but were delighted to find in them kindred spirits and natural members of the Watan UK family, who were willing to go above and beyond for the cause.

So here’s a shout-out to the QM North African Society – you’re a beautiful and inspiring lot, and we can’t wait to work with you again!