Roses to Rags
Restless Emma & the Warwick University team
Roses to Rags - the second Restless Beings campaign to take the University of Warwick campus by storm!
The campaign - focused on raising awareness of the breaches of justice imposed upon the Uighur women of Kyrgyzstan - was founded, prepped and run by the Restless Beings student group at the University of Warwick. The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of the once romantic tradition of Ala Kachuu; a tradition that has turned increasingly sour over recent years, and is now known as 'bride kidnapping'.
Having not yet caught the attention of the mass media, Ala Kachuu remains a relatively unheard-of tradition. Many individuals, charities and even some human rights groups are unaware of the violation of rights encountered by the women of the Uighur Community; yet for the women who fall victims to this brutal practice, the harsh reality of rape, forced abortions and domestic violence is very much alive.
The Restless Beings student group therefore sought to raise awareness of 'bride kidnapping' by handing out wilted roses on Valentine's Day. Attached to the rose was a message expressing the plight of the Uighur women, as well as providing a link to the Restless Beings website. The message was attached with white cloth to symbolise the white scarf placed upon a woman's head after she has been kidnapped which, in the practice of Ala Kachuu, symbolises the female's marriage to her 'husband'/kidnapper. The significance of the rose being wilted was that it illustrated the brutality of Ala Kachuu - once romantic; now cruel, inhumane and oppressive.
The campaign, which had taken a few weeks to prepare for (collecting flowers, printing tags and tearing white cloth), was a huge success. The student group had cleared all of their flowers, tags, cakes and flyers within an hour, and in doing so had spread the message in support of the Uighur women across the University.
Having successfully executed the Roses to Rags campaign, we hope that 'On the day of Love' we have enabled the students at the University of Warwick to 'Remember those who do not have the opportunity to love'.
Restless Mobien & the Queen Mary University team
The focus of the Campaign at Queen Mary was to both raise awareness about the practice of Ala Kachuu but also to promote Restless Beings and gain new supporters. In light of this we drew up a mailing list and started working our way around campus speaking to people about the practice of Ala Kachuu. Many people engaged with the subject of our campaign and were therefore happy to give their details. Alongside Shakir and Sayeda, we then set up a Restless Beings stall and started campaigning outdoors. Having a team worked effectively in being able to stop and talk to more people whilst giving out the roses and explaining more about the campaign and Restless Beings. The interest from the students was huge primarily due to the fact many people genuinely hadn't heard about the bride kidnapping practice enforced on Uighur women. It was enlightening to be able to educate and inform individuals about global issues in addition to our areas of work. Overall the campaign was a huge success. The flowers attracted people and people kept signing the mailing list. Leaflets were flying out and people were intrigued by the handkerchief and its message of solidarity. By 3pm everything had been given out and many over 200 now knew about Ala Kachuu.
Restless Tasnia & the London Streets team
The Roses to Rags Campaign hit the streets of London with an explosive response. It was inspiring to meet individuals amongst the general public who were intrigued to understand the struggles of communities like that of Uighur women; who silently suffer from tearful situations of child prostitution, domestic violence, repeated rape and forced abortions. The majority of the positive responses and donations came from students at Westminster University and UCL. Additionally, many of the people we approached wanted to know about Restless Beings and our projects; they were keen to understand our input in helping these marginalised communities. The vast majority of the students were impressed that we are based on the logic of "not for profit organisation" which was a plus point for donations :)
Despite lacking in team numbers which would have enabled us to target more hot spots in London, we still managed to raise £47.60 and our energetic and approachable Restless Beings spirit enabled us to reach out to people across London about the Ala Kachuu issue.
Roses to Rags Campaign 2011
On the day of Love, remember those who don't have the opportunity to love.
What was once considered a romantic tradition has now been manipulated and distorted to act as a medium to oppress and violate Uighur women.
A community of individuals who are facing violence, repeated rape and forced abortions.
All in the name of Ala Kachuu.
Please show your support and this day by voicing their silent struggles.
All we are asking, is for two things.
MAKE TANGIBLE CHANGE : Donate however little or large you can we can collectively work towards making a real difference for the Uighur women.
VOICE : Raise awareness by changing your twitter and facebook status to the following on the 14th of February 2011:
ROSES TO RAGS > On the day of Love, remember those who don't have the opportunity to love > http://www.restlessbeings.org/projects/uighur