Gunge A Linguisist

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Students raise over £2k for victims of sex trafficking  

Students recently got soaked in a torrent of gunge, raising over £2,000 for HOPE Nigeria, a new project helping the victims of sex trafficking in Nigeria.

Four students from the University of Sheffield’s School of English bravely volunteered to take part, placing themselves at the mercy of the public, who voted for the student they would most like to get a gunging.

HOPE Nigeria was set up by Enactus at the University of Sheffield, part of a global non-profit community of students, academics and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives. Students established the HOPE Nigeria project – for which they recently won second place in a National Enactus competition – to help victims of sex trafficking in Nigeria, which has the highest rate of the crime of any country in the world.

Using enterprise to empower female victims of trafficking in Nigeria, the students hope to get the victims’ lives back on track through a shea butter business which they have established together as a social enterprise. The money generated will be reinvested in helping more trafficking victims, enabling the project to become sustainable.

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Rob Ryan in Nigeria

So far, HOPE Nigeria has worked with ten women, but with the funding that has been raised through the gunging – and other activities – they hope to expand the operation to the point where it will become self-sustaining.

The students each recorded a short video plea for why they shouldn’t be the ones to get the gunging and the public voted Rob Ryan, 20 as the ‘winner’. Rob was first to get covered in the gunge, which was kindly donated by Hatfields Jaguar. However, in honour of such a worthy cause, all the students decided to take the plunge to encourage onlookers at the event supported by Tesco to give even more.

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James Boffey

Third-year student James Boffey personally raised £200 by joining in the slimy-shenanigans, entertaining the crowd with Dean Martin’s ‘Everybody Loves Somebody’,  performed under a trickle of gunge.

Rob explained: “Travelling to Nigeria and seeing first-hand what the power of enterprise can do has spurred us on to do more. The Gunge a Linguist fundraiser was a brilliantly entertaining way of raising money for an even more brilliant cause”.

“We thought the idea of people competing not to get gunged was funny and it created quite a spectacle, we got a really big turnout to watch and it was definitely worth the gunge for the money we raised!”

The public voted at www.allaboutlinguistics.com/gunge where there is more information on the volunteers and the charity, plus an online photo gallery and a video of the event. “The website is still open for donations so people can still give to this really worth cause, and see photos and video from the event” added Rob.

gunge4Students from each year of the undergraduate linguistics degree volunteered. Ryan Bramley (19) represented the first year, Rob volunteered from the second year, and finally Lawrence Walsh (21) and Lewis Clarke (21) jointly represented third year.

Rob added: “Winning the vote felt strangely exhilarating. People had voted for me (for whatever reason they might have) using their own money and despite the gunging I knew was coming, I was just ecstatic to see so much support for the project”

Ryan Bramley said: “Rob has gone to Nigeria and seen first-hand what these victims are going through. Even hearing about his experience myself made me realise how much we take things for granted in life. The feeling you get from knowing that you’re helping real-life people with real-life problems far more severe than our own is hard to beat. It’s an absolutely fantastic cause.

“By supporting HOPE Nigeria, not only are you directly transforming someone’s life, but you’re also raising awareness of an issue that doesn’t get enough coverage in the media. I certainly didn’t know myself how big the sex-trafficking trade was in places like Nigeria before I heard about the project. It’s called ‘HOPE’ for a reason – because you’re giving people a lifeline. You’re giving them something far more valuable than money – you’re giving them hope.”

Gary Wood from the School of English said: “The Gunge a Linguist event was a huge success, and we are delighted to have raised so much money to kick-start our students’ social enterprise. We are immensely proud of the work they are doing to transform the lives of others by sharing their skills to make a real, sustainable difference, and are very grateful to everyone who donated to help make this possible.”

Article written by Amy Stone

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