Every year, hundreds of Australians fundraise for Team UNHCR, from bake sales and trivia nights to garage sales and mountain treks. What unites these acts of generosity and compassion are everyday people who want to help change the plight of the world’s refugees.

Bec Cole is one of our heroes for humanity. She currently lives in Melbourne and is completing her Masters in Clinical Psychology whilst working part time. In July this year, she fundraised for Australia for UNHCR as part of Run Melbourne.


When did you first become interested in supporting refugees?

Last year I volunteered with a small not-for-profit organisation called Refugee Migrant Children Centre. Volunteering was when I really understood the importance of supporting refugees. It made me reflect on how lucky we are to live alongside refugees and asylum seekers in our communities. They are resilient and kind-hearted people who, despite the hardship they have faced, continue to strive for a better life for themselves, their families and communities.

What motivated you to fundraise for Australia for UNHCR?

When we are removed from the warfare and atrocity refugees face – as we are in Australia – helping can feel like an overwhelming task. There is a tendency to think, “how can little old me make a difference?” Yet each of us can do our bit. Fundraising for Australia for UNHCR was something I could do here in Melbourne, whilst continuing to go about my life. Donations help UNHCR to provide much needed humanitarian support and relief to those in Yemen, Syria, and other crisis zones. Let’s help UNHCR support fellow human beings to access their right to a safe and hopeful future.

Fundraising to support refugees was a highlight of Bec’s year. © Australia for UNHCR

How did you go about your fundraising and what made it so successful?

Eight weeks out from my half marathon, I posted a Facebook announcement to my friends and family declaring that I was setting myself the fundraising goal of $2,000. I would also be posting two weekly videos: an educational video discussing Australia for UNHCR and a weekly running-themed singing video.

The running-themed singing videos were eight video clips that I called my “sweaty vids”. In sweaty vid #1 I ran around my local park singing I Ran by Flock of Seagulls. In sweaty vid #6 I danced on the shores of Cottesloe Beach with my parents singing Running on Empty by Jackson Browne, and in sweaty vid #8 I strutted along Princes Bridge overlooking the Yarra River singing Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.

I think the sweaty vids were the key to my success. I ended up raising $2163.19 for Australia for UNHCR. Over the course of my fundraising campaign I developed an even greater passion for this organisation and got to know the wonderful community fundraising staff at Australia for UNHCR. It became more about the fundraising and less about the run. Fundraising for Australia for UNHCR has been a major highlight of my year.

When you join Team UNHCR, our community fundraising team will support you every step of the way. © Australia for UNHCR

Do you have any fundraising tips for others who want to take on a similar challenge?

My tip would be to set yourself a fundraising goal from the beginning that is a bit out of your comfort zone and share your goal with your friends, family and colleagues to make yourself accountable. Most importantly, think outside the box and make the fundraising campaign your own. Make it fun! Remember: embarrassing yourself in public is 100 per cent acceptable when it’s for a good cause.

What would you say to someone who is considering fundraising for Australia for UNHCR?

Go for it! The Australia for UNHCR community fundraising team take their time to get to know you and provide you with personable encouragement each step of the way. The team offer helpful tips on how to promote your fundraising campaign. If you decide to fundraise as part of an event, then they will greet you at the Australia for UNHCR tent providing you with snacks, and in my case, a post-run massage!

Become part of a community of passionate Australians who want to change the plight of the world’s refugees. © William Zheng

Find out more about joining Team UNHCR 


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