Rwanda is one of the many modern tragedies to have occurred in Africa, 1994 is a year that will permanently be etched into the memory of Rwandans, a year when within 3 moths over a million people were killed and the survivors left to fend for themselves despite their suffering and despair.
Whilst I appreciate that this is one horror amongst a horror-filled world, this event has been widely overlooked by the worlds powers and the Rwanda Fund (www.rwandafund.org) is one organisation seeking to correct this through fundraising, education and by doing whatever they can to help the country back onto it's feet.
So with thousands of charities and worthwhile causes competing for the publics' attention what is the Rwanda Fund doing that I consider different? The Rwanda Fund is organising a series of fundraising events from club nights to classical concerts, typically with free entry but with donations accepted and also a great deal of publicity generation. The event on the 18th June was an intriguing idea organised jointly with DotMusic (www.dotmusic.com) and DJ Magazine (www.djmag.com), an attempt to break and indeed create a (Guinness) World record DJ attempt. The aim was to fit 50 DJ's into 4 hours and certain stringent rules were enforced in terms of handover between DJ's and mixing between records, but being the first attempt at such a record it was a learning curve for all involved. To call the evening eclectic is an understatement, the event pulled competitors from many walks of life, professional and amateur DJ's alike with discs spun varying wildly to include most styles of dance music you care to think of and a few others you wouldn't, not everything worked but to hear it even attempted was interesting, exciting, intriguing and brave.
Perhaps the most promising and encouraging news of the evening is that this is only the first of several planned events over the next year, Rwanda Fund hope to be involved with events from Rock gigs to Classical Concerts, raising money and promoting their activities, rest assured we will keep you up to date with any developments.
Music and Charity have had a symbiotic relationship since entertainers realised they had a certain influence on the thoughts of 'the common man'. Usually the plight of charities and those they represent falls to large one off events or to big names, with whom scepticism on the subject of 'an excuse for publicity' usually falls. Rarely though have I seen small events organised for supporting major charities, and it's a refreshing change bringing causes into regular contact with the public, indeed through organising the right kind of events in the right surroundings they are bringing causes in touch with members of the public who have the money and the time to consider charities.
As a positive footnote, the Record attempt was successfully made.