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24th November, 2017

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25th November

Leading day for Women’s rights coincides with launch of Penny Appeal’s WOW – Women’s Welfare programme



Penny Appeal is a devoted supporter of women’s rights, women’s empowerment and a strong believer in free agency and freedom of determination for all women and girls, wherever they are and from whichever background they come from.


Saturday the 25th of November signals the beginning of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. With the tag line: Leave no one behind: End violence against Women and Girls. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women coincides with the launch of Penny Appeal’s newest initiative, WOW, Women’s Welfare, which will support women worldwide in a humanitarian capacity.


Violence against women and girls is considered by the United Nations to be ‘one of the most devastating human rights violations’. It is, unfortunately, the most widespread and prevalent type of human rights violation in the world today. Innately difficult to combat on a large scale, this kind of gender inequality persists on an international stage, through workplaces, in social contexts, and in crisis areas – when infrastructure and care systems collapse – women and girls become the most vulnerable demographic.


To counter these ingrained issues, we must act to improve legal frameworks, offer solutions to deeply rooted gender-based discrimination and provide faster, more robust provision for the protection of women and girls in warzones and crisis-hit countries in developing areas.


Current figures on this subject make for sobering reading. The UN states that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical, and/or sexual intimate partner violence. Almost 750 million women and girls today were married before their 18th birthday, with child marriage being most common in West and Central Africa. Adult women account for 51% of all human trafficking victims detected globally, with woman and girls together accounting for 71% of all trafficking victims.


Although the odds may seem steep, there is hope. Through economic empowerment, we can fight back with an improvement in living standards. It is widely held that providing women the tools, the knowledge and the power to sustain themselves through work and free enterprise the poverty floor in the local community will rise. According to the UN, “When more women work, economies grow. An increase in female labour force participation—or a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation—results in faster economic growth.”


Penny Appeal’s Women’s Welfare programme champions the empowerment of women and girls and works to attain gender equality throughout the world. We have completed a number of projects that fall under the WOW umbrella, which underline our commitment to working towards the further empowerment of women on an international stage. 


If you'd like to read more about our WOW programme, donate, or see the work we have done so far, please click here.


24th November, 2017

Team Talk Blog #1

BEHIND THE SCENES: The Maher Zain One Tour



As volunteers for Penny Appeal, we stand by the Charity’s motto: Small Change, Big Difference!


The Maher Zain One Tour 2017 has been a highlight of the year, bringing together the biggest numbers of volunteers to help with planning, as well as the execution of the event. We took on many responsibilities to go that extra mile, to achieve unity amongst everyone in order to fight for the causes we appeal for.


It was essential to have team meetings, briefings and reminders about the event face to face as well as through our Team Orange WhatsApp Group.


The planning stage was an integral part in building the best foundation of skilled volunteers to come forward and really make a difference, not just for the night of the event alone, but for the days coming up to it. Social media was the main tool to raise awareness and to sell tickets. Team Orange were given posters and paper tickets to sell face-to-face (which actually is harder than you would think!)


The layout of the event was very structured and all volunteers understood their roles. It was a matter of stepping up to our responsibilities and utilising and developing our skills. We can always stick to the roles we are comfortable with, but the best part (my favourite part) is that we are given a choice to grow; to learn and come out of our comfort zones with Penny Appeal.


The event consisted of us preparing the hall, meeting and greeting guests, and registration. We also introduced the photo area - which had fun Maher Zain cutouts - and we welcomed guests to their seats with a MASSIVE SMILE! Here comes the best part! We also watched the performance and enjoyed a successful night.


Events with Penny Appeal really do test us, especially one like The Maher Zain One Tour. We find our strengths and understand our weaknesses. We really learn about ourselves and reflect on how to be even better! I enjoy that part the most; being able to refine my skills and learn new ones. With all the hard work we put in, come opportunities that we may never have had elsewhere and it all comes with a sense of achievement.



Setting up the show is always fun and we cannot describe the feeling of hope we get, when we place each leaflet on every seat. The thought that these leaflets can become a charity donation, Subhan Allah!


We get lots of food and that in itself is a massive factor that contributes to our hard work, LOL! We get to meet celebrities backstage and grab a selfie or two. At The Maher Zain Event, not only did we meet Maher Zain, we met Omar Regan, who can never fail to make us laugh. We also met Ali Official and Harris J. You don’t get to meet inspirational people just like that on a normal day but through Penny Appeal a lot is possible.


I want to end this on a note that I believe each and every volunteer would agree with; we have come to many Penny Appeal events alone and ended the night making countless memories, achieving countless aims and building countless friends, and that is why we are Team Orange.


Written by Team Orange volunteer, Ashmina.


If you'd like to read about our current volunteering opportunities, or to join Team Orange click here. 

16th October, 2017

ROHINGYA CRISIS: Response Update

Penny Appeal’s response well underway as substantial aid is now being delivered


With an estimated 570,000 new refugees arriving in the border regions of Bangladesh since the 25th August, NGOs and humanitarian agencies have been scrambling to deliver sufficient aid.


In-line with current estimates, the amount of aid currently delivered is considered a drop in the ocean, with substantially more aid needed to quell the flames of the latest crisis involving the Rohingya people in Myanmar and Bangladesh.


Penny Appeal’s initial response was to provide support to the newly arrived refugees, who had recently fled the violence of the Myanmar military, on their flight from Myanmar across the border to Bangladesh.



As Penny Appeal have been working in Bangladesh since 2013, the aid delivery process was streamlined, with existing infrastructure already in place to facilitate the distribution of food, clothing, and medical supplies with the help of our partners on the ground.


To understand the sheer scale of the problem posed by this crisis, estimated figures for certain elements of the relief effort are as follows:


  • 58 million litres of safe water is needed everyday
  • In excess of 100,000 emergency shelters are required
  • Around 250,000 child refugees currently considered to be at risk, with provision needed for their protection
  • An intensified effort for the delivery of Primary Health Care (PHC) needed across all new refugee settlements.

Penny Appeal and partners have currently delivered food assistance to 15,200 families, with food bags estimated to last around a month, in the makeshift camp of Hakim Para near Thangkhali.


The food packs include:


  • 10kg rice
  • 8kg lentils
  • 2kg soya beans
  • 4 litres olive oil
  • 5kg onions
  • 2kg sugar
  • 2kg salt.

Other aid packs include hygiene kits distributed to 1,500 families, shelter packs given to 500 families, water solutions, in which we have installed 20 water hand pumps – providing safe water for 800 families and Primary Health Care services for 1000 families up to this point.


Moving into the next phase of our relief effort we have identified the need for the provision of a further 15,000 shelter homes, 1000 water points - including water wells and solar tube wells, 200 public toilets, 20 shower blocks, and the installation of a further 3 community health centres and community schools.

13th October, 2017

WAKEFIELD: When a dragon comes to your den

Legendary TV dragon, James Caan says, ‘I’m in’ during visit to Penny Appeal HQ

The multi-millionaire entrepreneur imparts famous words after invitation taken up from Adeem Younis, Chairman

A household name and famous TV dragon, well known from his time on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, has forged an alliance with Penny Appeal during a productive visit to the charity’s head office in Wakefield.


The famous investor is well versed in charitable operations after founding the James Caan Foundation in 2006, which supports charities in the UK, with an interest in issues affecting countries in the developing world.


James took time to tour Penny Appeal’s offices and meet staff following an invitation extended by Penny Appeal’s Chairman, Adeem Younis, when they previously met at an arranged dinner.


As part of the tour, Adeem introduced James to the inner machinations of the charity and how it takes small change, and makes a big difference with it - with aid distributed in 30 crisis-hit countries around the world and here at home in the UK.


As part of the partnership – and in an entrepreneurial capacity - the former dragon looks to help ‘scale’ Penny Appeal’s operations to ensure that its programmes can reach further, and help even more people around the world in their hour of need.



It was in the boardroom that the dragon’s famous words passed his lips, James said, “If this was a pitch on Dragons’ Den, I would say, Penny Appeal: I’m in!”


The event was covered in the local press and on ITV. During an interview, James admitted he was ‘blown away’ by the organisation, and added, “It is projected to raise £20 million this year and we’ve been brainstorming and coming up with ideas and a strategy about how we could double that.”


Adeem was equally thrilled with the outcome of James’ visit to Wakefield, stating, “He was amazed at the dedication shown by all the staff at Penny Appeal and I can say with confidence, watch this space.” The Chairman went on to say, "I'd like to thank James for taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit us here at Penny Appeal HQ, in what was a very productive and rewarding day."


12th October, 2017

Succot lunch enjoyed at Kensington mosque during inter-faith gathering

Initiative formed through partnership of Penny Appeal, Al Manaar and London Faith Forum

Team Orange volunteers at the succot


Members of three separate London synagogues and the Al Manaar mosque came together to break bread at the time of the Jewish Succot holiday in London this Sunday (8th October).


The event, which was first proposed by Penny Appeal’s London Regional Director, Saleha Islam, was organised with the aim to “promote mutual understanding, cohesion, and interfaith work” in the area. As well as this, the event focussed on tackling poverty and homelessness in London. All attendees brought with them cans of food to donate to the mosque’s homeless night shelter.


Saleha said, “I’ve done a lot of work with Jewish communities with Mitzvah Day and the London Faith forum. When I heard about this initiative, I spoke to the leader here and said ‘this would be wonderful if we could do this here.’ Through things like this we get to know our brothers and sisters from other faiths as well.”


The Succot festival itself is important in Judaism, it represents the way in which god led the Jews out of the wilderness following 40 years of being in the desert. During that time, the Jewish community would live and eat in the open; nowadays they construct a succah, which is a temporary hut for use during the period of Succot, within which they will enjoy their meals together. Indeed this is what happened at the event in Kensington, which saw the inter-faith gathering enjoy a traditional kosher and halal lunch together under the succah.


Saleha went on to say, “We agreed to put the succah up and invited members of the different communities for them to get to know each other, to celebrate with the Jewish community. I also think it’s important because although this is a joyous occasion for the Jewish community, I wanted to bring the whole subject around homelessness as well.”


Team Orange members were to thank for helping to arrange and set up the succah, with over 200 people attending. Thanks to the success of the event, a few people signed up to join Team Orange, to help with similar events held in London in the near future. 

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