By Maria Gregoriou
‘FUNRAISING’, a charitable, non-profit association in Limassol, is preparing to help needy school children get ready for school and arrange scholarships for university students.
The association will give about 100 needy school children school uniforms, bags, shoes and make arrangements for around 35 children to attend private English lessons.
Half of these children will receive new clothes while the other half will get used clothes. All children will get new white t-shirts.
The number of school children in need has increased since last year, when the association gave around €2,000 to €3,000 on school necessities.
“At the moment we are going through our list of children who need help and preparing the packages. We will also arrange for about 35 children to attend English evening lessons,” president and one of the founders of the association, Carina Savva said.
Funraising hopes to find private institutes that will offer free English lessons to one child while the association will pay for the second. They will also help pay for the books.
This year the association will support some university students by offering them scholarships.
“Last year we received scholarship funding from an architect in Limassol who grew up in a children’s shelter. Around €10,000 was used to help five students, either for fees or living expenses, and this year our association will also be supporting this cause financially,” Savva said.
Funraising was founded in April 2010 by four women friends. These women were already doing charity work and wanted to make their efforts official.
“The idea behind creating this association was based on two interrelated realities: that there are people willing to offer help and people who really need help.
The association’s primary concern is to support children of up to 18-years-old and their families, who find themselves in a state of financial distress,” Savva explained.
Children and their families are helped by the giving of food, clothing, shoes and special lessons. Household appliances and furniture are given to families to help with the smooth running of homes.
Once these have been provided, help is offered with managing economic problems or medical needs. Experts may also help at a social level, offering emotional or mental support.
“We help to pay for up to €200 of a family’s utility bills. This is a push to help them back on their feet and show that with our help they can become financially independent again,” Savva said.
Savva explained that there was no time limit on how long the association would help a family.
Necessary items are stored in three main areas in Limassol. “The sorting out of clothes happens about once a month. They are given out twice a year for the summer and winter periods. Food is given out every beginning of the month,” Savva said.
If someone wants to donate items but cannot deliver them to the association, a member will arrange a pick-up.
When families ask for help members of the association visit their homes and assess their needs.
“We always take a box of food with us even before we have documented their needs. When we see how they live and how many children they have, we can start calculating how we can help,” Savva said.
Funraising organises events all year round to help raise money. The two big events are during the Easter and Christmas periods.
“One of our smaller events was getting children to learn how to bake and then sell their cakes. The objective is to teach children they can have fun while raising money,” Savva said.
The association has arranged for volunteers to take part in the Cycling for Love campaign which is currently being run in Greece.
“Cyclists are cycling around Greece collecting food. About two thirds of the collection will be distributed in Greece and one third will come back to Cyprus. Money raised from this event will also go into our core account,” Savva said.
The association has a core account to pay for direct family needs and other accounts to pay for the running of events or other activities.
Funraising also took part in the charity dragon boat race in July, where €2,000 was raised.
Members of the association also make pinatas to sell and collect money. Special orders can be made to highlight the message of fun.
The association currently has 182 active members who volunteer their services through direct financial donations, the donation of goods, or assisting in the administration of the charity. Members pay an annual sum of €30.
The charity has 100 families that it helps on a regular basis and 100 who receive periodic assistance. A total of 500 children are under the association’s protection.
Donations can be made to Alpha Bank Cyprus Ltd, Account number 515-101-006063-4.
For more information or to become a member visit http://www.funraising.org.cy