Sightsavers blog

A day campaigning at Big John’s Mela

Sightsavers, September 2016
Two Lord Mayors and two Sightsavers volunteers standing together in front of a Sightsavers stall.

“Lots of people wanted to sign up, including families who had a child with a disability”

On Sunday 31 July, two of our campaign volunteers, Alicia O’Brien and Prithpal Singh Rathore, hosted a stand at Big John’s Birmingham Mela.

This annual event is attended by thousands of people to celebrate the diversity of the South Asian community in Birmingham. Before the event, Alicia and Prithpal had both been active volunteer speakers for Sightsavers, but this was the first time they had campaigned for our Put Us in the Picture campaign at a community event. They were able to sign up well over 100 people to the campaign; a fantastic achievement.

Here’s Alicia’s account of the event.

“We arrived at Cannon Hill Park at 10am to set up the stand with the banners, posters and leaflets for an 11am start. The stand was well placed somewhere in the middle of the buzz and goings on of the Mela and with our stall placed on the corner, we could catch people from two directions.

“A few people who were already Sightsavers donors came up to the stand but we hardly sat down on the chairs that Prithpal brought along as we had to go out to catch the ‘punters’.

“When talking to people, we found it really helped when we mentioned that Sightsavers worked in South Asian countries as many of the people who attended had connections one way or another with the region. Lots of people wanted to sign up: women with their children, families who had a child with a disability and even lots of children themselves wanted to sign up too.

“We got one or two people to sign up for every five we approached and in total we got well over 100 to join the campaign, including the Lord Mayors for Birmingham and Dudley. Whether people signed up or not, we gave out leaflets to everyone we spoke to. We left at 6.30pm, somewhat hoarse and tired, but we’d certainly do it again next year!”

If this sounds like something you would like to do, or you know of a large community event in your area that you would like to campaign at, contact our campaigns team ([email protected]) for a chat.

Find out more about our Put Us in the Picture campaign and sign up! 

Want to read more about our work?

Sightsavers and disability rights
Sightsavers from the field

How you’re helping us restore sight in Bangladesh

Sightsavers’ Ella Pierce travelled to Bangladesh and met eight-year-old Suborna, who was in desperate need of a cataract operation. This is her journey.

December 2017
Three women sat outside talking.
Sightsavers blog

Keeping up political momentum on disability and development

By hosting a summit, the UK government is committing to making disability-inclusive development a global priority. We must make sure this political momentum is not lost.

Natasha Kennedy, December 2017
A riverbed with green bushes and trees at its edges.
Sightsavers blog
Blogs / NTDs /

How field surveys can help us fight trachoma

In February this year, Sightsavers supported our partners with the ambitious task of conducting field surveys for trachoma in Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.

Ruth Dixon, November 2017