By Kacie Wedel
Times are tough, there’s no secret about that. As we continue to navigate our way through these exhausting days, it’s hard to stay motivated. Now more than ever we need to maintain a connection with one another to focus on the positives.
With the help of RAAH Fest, we can do just that! In two short days, on 24th October 2020, RAAH Fest will be streaming online from 3 to 11 pm UK GMT. They aim to raise £1 million for 20 participating charities. They are also expecting to bring in 200,000+ viewers for their eight hour festival with several types of performances.
We had the privilege of being able to speak with those behind the scenes at RAAH. Fest for the inside scoop on what to look forward to with this exciting event.
RAAH: What does it mean?
When I first became introduced to RAAH Fest, my initial thought was, “RAAH. Is this a word? An acronym?” For Jasminder, the creator of the festival, the word “RAAH” has no language barrier. “When we started off it wasn’t meant to be that it has this powerful meaning, it was more the sound that we liked ‘RAAH!,’ like we wanted to shout about these incredible things we’re doing.” The different perspectives everyone brings is what drives RAAH’s uniqueness.
In the process of getting ready for production, there have been some setbacks. As Jas jokes about missing out on sleep, she points out the real difficulty as being other’s egos. “I’m desperate just to help my friends out, that was my sole purpose when I originally had the idea for the festival, and still is now,” she stated.
Considering how complicated COVID-19 has made our lives, I was pleased to hear that for them it was productive. Jas goes on to say, “We were actually able to utilise COVID as being in lockdown meant that people now had the time to give and we made the best of a horrible situation.” COVID did add pressure on the team with unemployment high and the lack of ability to meet as a group.
Nevertheless, the team at RAAH is resilient, and despite a few obstacles, RAAH has been able to maintain positive spirits and focus on their task at hand – making the world a better place.
What we can expect
RAAH will be hosting a variety of performances from all walks of life. You’ll have music ranging from Australian rock to acoustic, and then R&B and soul. Headlining acts will feature artists including Gabrielle Aplin, Poppy Ajudha, and Inoxia with supporting artists Chris Peters, FLOW, and many more. RAAH will also showcase spoken word artists such as Monica Rose and Jeremy Gunetilleke, documentaries and short films, and finally testimonials from survivors of human trafficking as well as those affected by migration.
Twenty different charities have joined forces with RAAH Fest for this fantastic event.
All are listed on the official website with links for each charity, detailing who they are and what their mission is. A few to expect include organisations like Phone Credit 4 Refugees, Diamond You Projects, and Help Refugees. In asking what we should look for in a charity to know that donations are going to a good cause, Sarah, content writer and press team volunteer for RAAH, helped point out a few key things.
The most important thing to look for in a charity is transparency.
To start, look for factors such as having a registered charity number and legal information. Finally, be mindful of looking at the transparency of those involved. Sarah goes on to explain the importance of this stating, “Charities shouldn’t be faceless, that’s why at RAAH we put our hearts, souls, and faces into everything we do!” RAAH provides a complete list of charities they support detailing the work they are doing. This helps us to understand who they are and what their mission is.
Finally, what better way to spread the word than by rocking some amazing merchandise? RAAH has partnered up with UK based designer Lawrence Gonzales and his brand AKONOMY.
They will showcase powerful statement t-shirts to help bring awareness to creating a better world for everyone. Starting out will be their “Stronger Together” t-shirt at £20, with the release of bucket hats, bandanas, socks, jumpers, hoodies, and more to follow.
Urgent needs and how to help them thrive
With many people still suffering, it’s crucial that we spread the word. Several are still struggling with governments prolonging status claims. Jas’s friend, Nas, is a prime example of this. He arrived in the UK as a child refugee after his family was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. It took 10 years before he was finally able to become a UK citizen. This resulted in a decade of uncertainty, stress, and financial burden, as he wasn’t allowed to work.
In addition to this, they also are looking to thrive. In order to continue to thrive, they hope to be able to collaborate with other organisations with the goal of RAAH being the “hub” or “middle-man.” They pride themselves on being collaborative, not competitive. For example, by having professionals in graphic design, they could put them in touch with other charity projects who may need help from a graphic designer. The same goes for local artists as well.
With their founding belief of being stronger together than divided, they aspire to use their platform to help give a voice to the voiceless.
RAAH doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. Once the festival is over they hope to continue by turning this into an annual event and then ultimately a charity foundation. With so many talented behind the scenes members, they aspire to carry on organising festivals.
They also wish to organise screenings for children’s homes and hospital wards, as well as expand in the direction of education. Sarah noted, “Often the media doesn’t give people who’ve been in these situations a voice. Our goal is to show that these people are human and deserve as much right to live in safety and without fear as anyone else. The best way to do this is to hear their stories first-hand.”
With a global pandemic affecting us all, it’s understandable if you may not be able to donate financially. There are still many ways you can help support this incredible team!
RAAH is a foundation that is “built on love and shared desire to do something positive,” expressed Sarah. “Every one of our volunteers believes that inequality has to end and that everyone deserves to live in safety and peace. We have all come together from different backgrounds all over the UK and abroad, many of us have never met in person, but by staying connected virtually we’ve created a genuine caring community.”
The more we fight against these injustices, the more successful we’ll be. By coming together as an online community, we can aid in giving a voice to the voiceless and create a better world for everyone.
With organisations like RAAH Fest, we are left feeling determined and motivated to evolve our way of thinking for the better so that we may all live without fear of our safety.