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Heston Community College – Charity Challenge!

As a part of the First Give programme students from the local Heston Community College raised money for the ACAA through a variety of activities. The First Give programme is a national project that aims to get school children involved in charity work by running a engaging with students on local issues and giving them the opportunity to compete for a £1000 donation to the local charity of their choice. This year one class at Heston Community College chose to raise money for the ACAA as part of this programme, project leader Kahenat Khan describes their achievements raising money for the ACAA.

Written by: Kahenat Khan, 15 years old

One day my teacher presented us with a task and an opportunity, Heston Community College was taking part in the First Give charity programme and each class was going to raise money for a local charity. We needed to find a charity from our local area that we felt passionate about, present what they do and why to our class members and then the class would pick the best charity to raise money for and we would have the change to win a £1000 donation for that charity. Each class was going to pick a charity, raise money for them and then present to the school and First Give why their charity and fundraising efforts deserves to be supported with an extra £1000 donation. While scrolling through the many amazing charities, I came across ACAA. I was delighted to see that a charity so close to where I lived was helping people of my community and providing services for refugees and immigrants. They had a strong community of leaders and had just opened a new office in Hounslow. ACAA not only helps refugees and organises cultural events for those from Afghanistan and Central Asian backgrounds but also provide additional services specifically for Muslim women and children who are working towards becoming members of British society. I knew immediately that this was the charity I wanted to raise money for and worked on creating a persuasive presentation for my class about why we should choose the ACAA. Fortunately, I succeeded and the ACAA won the majority of their votes.

This was just the beginning, however, as our next and main task was fundraising. I had never fundraised for a charity before but had already come up with so many ideas as I had been inspired by passion and love for ACAA. For valentine’s day I organised a highly successful rose selling fundraising business, totalling £190 raised! Feeling proud of my achievement, it was time to start getting ready for our final presentation. In front of a panel of judges each class group would have to present a slide show on the charity they chose to raise money for. The best presentation would then win £1000 for their charity. My team and I spent weeks and weeks perfecting and finalising our PowerPoint after school and during school hours. We felt we needed an extra element that no other class would feature, our own video. Several team members and I went to the ACAA Saturday Supplementary School and met the lovely Mahna. She helped us answering any questions we had and gave us a personal tour of the service, demonstrating what the ACAA really does. I was amazed to see children, teenagers and even adults, engaging in lessons full of volunteers. After filming and editing the video, we eventually felt that our presentation was as good as it could ever be.

Presenting in front of 6 other classes, all of who want the money as much as you do, and a panel of judges was no easy to task. Thankfully I had the support of Rabia and Mrs Nasimi who came to watch the presentations and lent their uplifting spirits and determination to our cause. Standing on that stage helped build my confidence and gave me the determination and inspiration to persuade the judges to choose me. An hour and a half later, the winners were announced; “The Afghanistan and Central Asian Association.” Those 6 words brought home all that we had managed to accomplish and I knew that all of the hard work had paid off.

At the end of the event, still feeling shocked, I realised that I had learnt way more than I thought I would. I learnt how essential teamwork is and how important it is to support charities that fight a wide range of problems in the world today. I am now proud to say that I have built a close relationship with ACAA and the members, and feel as if I’m a part of the family.

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