HRF Charity Shop

The Human Relief Foundation

The Human Relief Foundation was established in the year 1991 after the Golf War. The HRF runs charity projects all around the world and they provide food, shelter, medicine, clean water and education. In some countries they have their own offices, however a lot of projects are funded by the HRF and executed by local workers.

A charity is required to be registered with the UK charity commission, which is responsible for charities in England and Scotland. The charity will then receive their charity number and officially be certified as a legal charity, qualified to open their own shops. The UK charity commission has access to all other charity accounts and can interconnect them amongst each other. The commission has an overview how much income every charity has and these have to provide them with minuscular documentation of how the money is spent. The earnings of every individual employee of a charity are manifested in the rules by the UK commission and have to be followed.

At the end of the day, every charity works in their own way, so they have the freedom to invest a set budget into advertising. However the resulting income always has to exceed investment.

In the particular example of the HRF, they occasionally collaborate with Oxfarm. If there is a disaster or a project that the HRF wishes to support, but has no office or workers in the area, they donate money to Oxfarm to work on behalf of them. The same support is given the other way around. It is of communal interest for them to support each other and have more arms to make an impact.

Where exactly does funding come from?

For example, if you were to sign with the HRF and donate £100, that money goes straight into their project bank accounts. The charity can then claim an additional 28% of the donated amount from the government to pay their admin work.

Additional ways of raising money and awareness are achieved thought organizing events, such as dinner parties, festivals and concerts, or by convincing people on the street to sign up. Occasionally, especially when a disaster has struck somewhere in the world, TV channels and radio stations provide charities with 2-3 hours of free airtime. This is an excellent way to reach a lot of people to promote the organization, their projects and to request support. A lot of attention is paid to investing in online advertising and setting up modern and comprehendible websites that explain what exactly happens with the money. A very lucrative way is to establish a charity shop and re-sell donated items to raise money for projects. The one only funding way the HRF does not choose to do is to send out volunteers going from door-to-door, some charities however do so.

Sadly volunteers and charity workers get verbally abused constantly. Especially door-to-door, street workers and volunteers in charity shops have to have a thick skin to handle the disrespectful behavior that is put forth towards them. Many people pick out major problems that are still issues in our modern society and accuse charities of not caring about them at all. They even claim that all the money goes into their own pockets and those individuals then refuse to listen in when a charity worker tries to prove them different. It is devastating how much negativity charities have to deal with, even though every one tries to give their all to help others.

Charity Shops

I would like to go into more detail about charity shops. Like afore mentioned, in order to open a shop the charity needs to be registered and licensed by the UK commission. It also needs to provide evidence, that they can maintain a certain amount of money in their bank account in case of a local disaster. This is the so-called ‘worst case scenario’ prevention measurement.

Each shop has one regular paid member of the HRF and at least 5 volunteers who do most of the work. There is always more work to be done than meets the eye. The donors stop by and drop of items they no longer need, usually a lot of clothes and books, as well as children toys and others. This is a very efficient way of funding without affecting the donors. For some people it is easier to give away old items rather than money and they are happy and proud, that they were able to do good.

Every donating is valuable. The good quality items are sold to customers as a bargain and the damaged items are sold to big recycling companies who can reuse the materials. Ultimately this helps the environment and relieves the government of those particular recycling costs.

It is the most lucrative way to receive items in the UK and send the money abroad so locals can buy requirements in the local area. This feeds into their local marketing structure and helps the country economical. Sending clothes and other items abroad is unfortunately to expensive and time consuming, since packaging, transport, shipping and additional workers have to be considered.

Projects in other countries are managed locally, however the HRF sometimes runs a project to educate doctors. They bring together doctors and nurses to Turkey in order to bring the more poorly educated ones to a high performance standard. For example, UK, USA and other wealthy countries send their doctors to Turkey where they meet doctors from countries like Sudan, Kashmir and Iraq. Here they have the opportunity to run education programs in a mutual environment. The HRF never sends any other volunteers abroad since the travel cost is far too expensive and is spent more effectively in the affected area.

The website of the HRF has more details about the actual projects but there is always the problem of how much visual feedback they are allowed to publish in order to keep their donors up-to-date. For example they explain the difficulties of digging up water in Africa. They describe how many long hours it takes to just walk to the digging sight and the challenges faced of digging up the water and cleaning it. The problem is how much is allowed to visually show this? First of all they need permissions, signatures of families and individuals, in order to record the happenings. If they put this on their website or live in TV charities face harsh accusations of selling the people and abusing their identity.

Mevlida’s Story

I would like to thank Mevlida dearly! She is the funding manager of the HRF UK London branch and manages all the shops. Recently she opened the charity shop in New Cross, where I was lucky meet her. Until the shop is up and running she works there for 2 days a week and then she moves on opening the next shop. She was very kind by giving me a very long interview and providing me with all this valuable information.

Mevlida used to work as a full-time counselor and was simultaneously a volunteer at the HRF for 9 years, where she organized charity events, dinners and fashion shows.

The organization of a charity event involves selling some tickets to make sure there is an average income of the event and inviting business people as VIP guests. Later are allowed in for free, but they usually donate between £2’000- £10’000 so it is very valuable to maintain a good relationship with them. Mevlida told me she once had a gentleman who donated £90’000 on the spot, one of the biggest donations she ever received.

Her long dedication and active involvement in the HRF was honored greatly and she was offered a permanent job. She has been working full-time for the HRF for 6 years now and never looked back. She explained to me with sparkling eyes that everything that helps others satisfies herself. After long days or an event where she only manages to sleep for 2 hours she will always go to bed and think of all she pain she releases of people. It inspires her and makes her feel happy inside, every day.

However, she admitted to me that sometimes she fears to be overpaid for her duties and because of that spends an extra 1-2 hours working pro-bono every day, just in case this makes a little more difference.

Mevlida inspires me with her passion and her work ethnic. I decided to sign up to work at the New Cross HRF charity shop. My ambition is to work for a couple of hours a week at least until the end of university. I believe this will teach me a lot about people, cultures, ambitions and being the scenes work.

Thank you again, Melvida, you helped me so much!