As some of you are aware I have been a little involved in fandom efforts to raise money for Haiti following the devastating earthquake that hit the country last week and numerous aftershocks that continue to strike.

Last year American actor and friend of mine, Jonathan Woodward, spent two months in Haiti with a humanitarian charity, the International Association of Human Values (IAHV), who, among other things, work to empower youth in the poorest of nations through training programs. Through Browncoat Events, I helped him spread the word and raise the money that he required for the trip. When I first heard of the latest natural disaster to strike Haiti, I admit, my thoughts immediately went to Jonathan and the friends he had made out there last year, but I was also deeply affected by the amount of human suffering in a country that is already rife with human suffering. I knew I had to do something, however small, to help.

The very next day, Jonathan contacted me and asked if I would help him raise money for IAHV’s efforts, so I turned my attentions to his charity. One of the things that I did immediately, was take a collection box to work and pimped its existence around a building that holds over a hundred employees. I picked up that box on Thursday night. I found a measly £20.00, £3.00 of which I contributed myself to get the collection going.

I did the same thing several years ago when the Tsunami hit in the Indian Ocean. I raised nearly £300, and when I took the box away, people asked me to return it so they could contribute again after the next pay day.

What is different this time around?

Clearly, the global credit crunch has affected people’s ability to give, but just £1.00 from each employee would have raised more money than I collected (and I hit them up on pay day). Also, I am fortunate enough to be in a reasonably well paid job that has not been affected by the recession. So it’s not a lack of money that was preventing people from giving. It is, of course, possible that people had already donated what they could online and I really hope that is the case. But I am feeling a general sense of apathy in the UK to the plight of these people.

In contrast to this, the Americans have really stepped up. With less than two weeks to organise it, they had a fundraising telethon being broadcast simultaneously across a multitude of networks on Friday night. Huge names in entertainment giving up their time to man telephones. Both George Clooney and Leonardo Di Caprio have donated $1,000,000 of their personal funds to the cause. (I have even given Di Caprio his real name and not my pet name for him in recognition of this). What about the UK? Where is our Bob Geldof for 2010?

Maybe it’s because, unlike the countries hit by the Tsunami, Haiti is not a tropical holiday paradise. Maybe it’s because not many Britains were out there. Maybe it’s just a little closer to home for Americans. Or maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. I don’t know, all I do know is that it saddens me.

I’m not giving up though. These people needed help before the earthquake struck and I am going to continue trying to come up with ideas to help people part with their money. To start with I am going to write to TV stations to petition for a telethon of our very own. I really don’t have the same kind of pull that Clooney does, but someone has to try. Please join me.

The charity Jonathan Woodward supports and is working with is www.iahv.org – you can donate directly at http://iahv.org/donate_haiti_disaster_relief.asp or you can go to www.browncoatevents.com for further information.

Whedonverse fans have set up an information site at www.haiticaringhands.com with information and links to reputable organisations to donate to (including IAHV).

Disclaimer: the comments of this blogger do not represent the views of the United Kingdom. The blogger is not particularly accusing anyone of being a big meanie. The blogger is just expressing her feelings at what she perceives as a general apathy. Her perception may be slightly skewed.

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