Red Nose day is an annual charity event part of Comic Relief, which gets comedians together for a live TV event to help raise money, primarily for causes in Africa. Honestly, as I watch each annual Comic relief TV special, I ask the same question ‘Why is Africa fixed yet?’, which of course, is a very narrow way to view the charity benefit and it’s cause. But this year felt different, and I came to understand why we need it each year.
This year Ed Sheeran took a trip to Liberia, where he met the young children that our money will be going to. It came as a harsh wake up call to me, who had been complaining non-stop all day about how much I hated going to school, to hear that the thing these children wanted most was to get an education. So why couldn’t they? And that brings me back to my initial question, ‘Why isn’t Africa fixed yet?’. What happened to these children can’t be fixed, three years ago their parents were killed by the Ebola crisis, to they either have to fend for themselves or support their families, despite being as young as 12.
Ed Sheeran spoke on the repetitive nature of the Comic relief links; “The last thing I wanted this to be was to be the celebrity who comes over to Africa and cries on TV and says ‘Send your money over.'” And while I expected him to do just that, he didn’t. Upon meeting a young boy, JD, who lived on the streets, Sheeran insisted on putting him and his friends in a house until they could get them into a school. A sweet gesture, which was given a solemn undertone when Sheeran announced, against instruction and before the watershed, that JD and his friends were commonly being raped by the older boys in the slums. A selfish part of me wishes he hadn’t revealed that, as it’s such a Harrowing thought. But I’m glad he did, as after hearing that I, and I’m sure the majority of the British public felt the same way, couldn’t stop myself from donating. After all, Sheeran only housed 5 young boys, and there are still many so many children who are without parents after the outbreak of the Ebola crisis, which as a society we have forgotten as it is no longer a threat to us. But they still live with the aftermath.
The total money raised for Comic relief 2017 was announced to be £48,257,346, a record breaking amount. You’ve probably heard all the rumour about where that money goes; to buy arms for Africa, into the pockets of corrupt African governments, or perhaps even to Sir Lenny Henry. I can’t say for sure if any of this is true or false, but I know that I couldn’t doubt that the problems in African countries are constantly arising, and there will always be children that need our help, and I want to believe that is where my money is going
According to the Comic relief website on the matter, the standard procedure of where the donations go is that it takes two years to allocate the money raised, by looking through grant applicants for different causes, and that while the money is waiting to be paid out, it is invested. This return supports their running costs. To find out more about how Comic relief uses the money, see their finances page.