Music for meds: Hamza Namira's fundraising tour

Published January 31st, 2013 - 12:54 GMT
Hamza Namira performs in UK fundraiser for medical equipment for Egypt
Hamza Namira performs in UK fundraiser for medical equipment for Egypt

Organised by the London-based aid group Human Appeal International (HAI), a two-day UK tour by Egyptian musician Hamza Namira will fundraise for medical equipment to provide training for more than 10,000 medical practitioners in Egypt.

Coinciding with the second anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, the weekend tour will kick off with a live concert along with fundraising and information sessions at Logan Hall in Central London on Saturday 26 January. A fundraising dinner will be held Birmingham at Al-Mirage Banqueting Hall on 27 January, also featuring a live performance by Hamza Namira.

Currently operating in 24 countries worldwide, Human Appeal International is a non-profit aid organisation established in 1991 with a mission to alleviate famine in Sudan. Its work in the Arab world seeks to address both the long-term development needs and the current crises that plague countries such as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia and Libya. In Palestine, HAI is the largest charity working on both emergency aid and development.

As well as providing emergency relief and orphan sponsorship, Human Appeal International is particularly keen on paving the way for sustainable development and building platforms that facilitate the progress of people in need.

The decision to launch this initiative, a fundraiser designed to raise funds for training equipment that will help provide training for 10,000 medical practitioners in Egypt, emerged after extensive field research and partnerships with a number of Egyptian doctors residing in the UK, along with five Egyptian-British organisations, including the Medical Arab Society UK. After their exposure to statistics that revealed the number of deaths and complications incurred by poor treatment within Egypt’s ailing healthcare system, HAI concluded that investing in elevating the quality of medical aid in the developing country would be a pertinent use of resources.

“We have dedicated this project to addressing the need for lifesaving medical aid and facilities that will contribute towards a long-term establishment of trained medical practitioners and better medical aid across the country,” Arwa Ibrahim of HAl told Ahram Online via an email interview.

The non-profit is striving to collect £200,000 (approximately LE2 million) throughout its campaign to raise funds for medical aid in Egypt. A large chunk of the money will be gathered during Namira’s two-day tour, but the campaign continues beyond that.

The funds collected will be poured into the purchase of two state of the art simulation units dubbed 'SimMan Simulators', which will be used to train and educate 10,000 medical practitioners in Egypt during the first year of their establishment.

“We have together chosen to focus on a narrow but long-lasting project that will fulfil an essential gap in the healthcare system of Egypt,” Ibrahim explains.

Combining music with development, this concert exemplifies contemporary trends in the fundraising sector. Egyptian singer/songwriter Hamza Namira (1980) was chosen by popular demand due to his popularity among the British audience. He was nominated for his ability to rally a large crowd in the UK and fulfil the goals of the fundraiser.

Hamza Namira, who has been compared to Egyptian musical icons such as Sayyed Darwish, Mohamed Mounir and Ahmed Mounir, is known for blending different musical genres such as rock, jazz and Latin to create a unique sound.

Released in 2008, Namira’s feisty debut album, ‘Ehlam Ma’aya’ (‘Dream with Me’), was very well received in Egypt, particularly among university students. In 2007, the artist signed with Awakening Records, the British record label that launched the careers of Sami Yusuf and Maher Zain, among others.

Namira’s popularity grew even further in the aftermath of the January 25 Revolution of 2011, as his music echoed the frustrations, and hope, of Egypt’s young (and rebellious) generation.

“Since young people are an important focus of our work, Hamza as a young, national, Egyptian singer is an ideal choice to reflect the goals of this project,” explained HAI.

HAI firmly believes that NGOs and civil society organisations have an essential role to play in sponsoring programmes to improve healthcare in developing countries. Moreover, along with financial support (which may be in short supply), non-profit organisations could become “a major source of expert technical advice and training for local health professionals.”

Egypt is certainly in dire need of a boost to its healthcare system. Problems include run-down infrastructure, staggeringly low wages for doctors, and significant understaffing.

Earlier this month, Minister of Health and Population Mohamed Mostafa admitted that around 200 hospitals and 3800 medical units are said to be inadequate for medical services.

The health budget for 2012-2013 is estimated at LE27.414 billion, which amounts to 5 per cent of the state budget. In October 2012, Egypt’s doctors declared a partial strike, calling for an increase in health spending to 15 per cent of the state budget, better healthcare standards, improved security at hospitals and wage increases.

Saturday, 26 January at 6pm
Logan Hall, Russell Square, London

Sunday 27 January at 4.30pm
Al-Miraj Hall, 11-29 Wordsworth Rd, Small Heath, Birmingham


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