International Business students in Breda have spent weeks raising money to support the charity Tjommie. The organisation will use that money to build a well in a village in South Africa. In total, the five students collected 2,530 euros.
“We are really proud”, Tamara Verheij says with evident satisfaction. With Ipek Cercevik, Darina Radkovski, My Ni Tran and Yoana Nedelcheva, she started a fundraising campaign. Tamara: “We set up accounts on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram to get more publicity. We also approached family, friends and acquaintances.”
When that didn’t seem to be enough, the students worked harder. They collected plastic bottles on campus and put up posters everywhere. They also approached influencers to get them to put in a good word for the fundraiser. All their efforts paid off and they achieved their goal of collecting 2,500 euros.
Tamara feels that it was rather unexpected. The group had to deal with considerable setbacks. “In the beginning we wanted to organise a real-life Squid Game. That was really hyped at the time, but the organisation didn’t want to be associated with violence, which is also understandable”, she explains. “Ultimately, we wanted to organise a Christmas event. That was naturally much better in the context of giving and being together. We had everything organised, but the event was cancelled because of the half lockdown. It really de-motivated us. We just couldn’t get it to work.”
The students also noticed that people were not that willing to donate. Tamara: “We totally understand that the financial situation of most students is not so great.” My Ni, co-organiser of the fundraising campaign, adds: “We had emailed all the teaching staff at Avans, but didn’t receive one donation, unfortunately. Occasionally we got things like ‘Good luck!’ as replies. We thought it was kind of strange.”
All of a sudden, the donations started to roll in, which gave the group the motivation they needed to continue. “That’s when we changed to plastic bottles. We knew it might not get us the best results, but it would encourage awareness on campus. Which would make the achievement even better”, Tamara says. The students believe that it’s because of the setbacks that they now have such a feeling of satisfaction.
Tjommie means “friend” in South Africa. The foundation is a Dutch organisation that was set up twenty years ago. They are partnered with an organisation in South Africa to give support to children in the townships. The well for clean water will be constructed in March. Until that time, the students will be keeping those interested informed via social media.