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Lure of the big screen helps Sense International Ball raise £75,000!
A number of fantastic auction prizes helped to boost the fundraising total, culminating in two lucky guests donating £1,900 each for the chance to be seen on the big screen in the next film by Gurinder Chadha OBE. The celebrated director of ‘Bend it like Beckham' and ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging' will provide the winners with extras roles in her new comedy horror film, which she described as "Bend it like Beckham meets Shaun of the Dead."
The ball was a celebration of Sense International's ten year anniversary, with all proceeds evenly split between the charity and Hilton in the Community Foundation.
As well as dinner, raffle and auctions, guests enjoyed a dance performance from three times British National Amateur Latin American Champions Lisa Darby and Gregor Rebula and a surprise turn from ‘Incognito', the Singing Waiters.
Sense International works in the developing world to help people who are both deaf and blind to live full and active lives. The charity now provides support to more than 30,000 deafblind people in ten countries.
Jeremy Charles, Chairman of Sense International said:
"The ball has set Sense International's tenth anniversary celebrations off to a flying start and this is very much thanks to the generosity of the guests. Their support will transform the lives of hundreds of deafblind children and their families. In these challenging times, this support has never been more urgent.
Children born deaf and blind in the developing world face unbelievable challenges but we know that with the right support a deafblind child can learn to communicate and flourish just like any other child. In our first decade, Sense International's pioneering, innovative solutions have established infrastructure in some of the poorest countries in the world where previously there was nothing available."
In 2007 Hilton in the Community Foundation used their disaster relief fund to award £50,000 to Sense International's East Africa programme, the first award of this kind by the Foundation for ongoing international work. The partnership has already made a big difference to many lives in Kenya as part of Sense International's East Africa Programme. Working closely with Hilton Nairobi, 12 teachers have been trained, 41 deafblind children have been identified and professionally assessed, 60 deafblind children are now receiving services and 17 have had school transport secured for them to the Kilimani Primary School, the only day school with deafblind children in the country.
Simon Vincent, Hilton Area President Europe said:
"We are delighted to be partnering with Sense International for their 10th anniversary. During more challenging times it's absolutely crucial that big businesses continue to support charities, whose work becomes even more important. The Foundation is focussed on its mission to support young people who are at a disadvantage; whether through their health or access to educational opportunities so many of us take for granted. Hilton Hotels has committed to and invested in the Foundation as we see it as a superb way of giving back to the communities in which we operate."
HCF is a grant making charitable trust and co-ordinates the fund raising activities of Hilton hotels in the UK and Ireland. The Foundation focuses its grant giving on smaller charities that help children and young people in need. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, in 2008 the Foundation awarded £1.18 million to 298 charitable organisations benefiting over 200,000 young people.
Grants ranged in size and scope, from requests for specialist equipment for disabled students, to support for cancer sufferers, to sports equipment for a local clubs and schools. Although all different, these grants have each made a big difference to a young person's life. As Hilton covers all the administration costs of the Foundation as well as subsidises our fundraising, every net pound raised goes directly to the charities that we support.
Sense International is a small and highly effective organisation supporting people in developing countries who are both deaf and blind - the most isolated and marginalised people in the world. Many deafblind children are misdiagnosed or shunned by their family and community who do not understand their condition. Sense International helps the family and community to understand deafblindness and ensures that services are in place to help children develop communication skills and to lead independent lives. We have seen the life-changing difference our support makes, for example, students in Colombia can now attend university, a young man in India is running his own snack shop or a young girl in India can work in the local cotton cleaning workshop. All are now living fulfilled lives and are seen as valued members of their community.
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