One person per Cambridge undergrad has been protected from malaria: The Tab meets MWA

Donating deliberately and making an impact is what MWA is all about!

Helping to revolutionise the way students approach giving, May Week Alternative (MWA) are once again inviting students to donate to charity as a way of celebrating the end of the academic year. Believing to give deliberately and creating a welcoming community, May Week Alternative are working to normalise a positive approach to charity. The Tab Interviewed Becca and Abe, the MWA Presidents, on what their aims for this year are, and how we can get involved.

Photo Credit: May Week Alternative Instagram Page

(Photo Credit: May Week Alternative Instagram Page)

Becca told The Tab that MWA aims “to encourage students to adopt a positive approach to giving rather than charity being an afterthought or an obligation”. She said MWA “invites students to donate an amount that is significant to them to charity this term, and then in May Week come together at a Summer Party to celebrate the end of exams and our collective impact”. 

‘Despite all the difficulties of a virtual term, it’s a fantastic way of coming together’

Abe also mentioned the ‘incredible community of people’ involved in MWA, who won’t allow Covid to hinder their powerful impact. Abe also told The Tab that “despite all the difficulties of a virtual term, it’s a fantastic way of coming together and having a huge impact in the process.”

(Photo Credit: May Week Alternative Facebook Page)

Although you can choose a cause to donate to with MWA, Becca strongly recommends donating to the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), because they are “independently evaluated as one of the most effective charities in the world”. Commenting on how Malaria causes 400,000 preventable deaths a year, disproportionately affecting young children and pregnant women, Becca highlighted that “each donation can have a huge impact”.

Last year MWA raised a staggering £100,000 for AMF which helped to protect over 120,000 people from Malaria, emphasising just how powerful students coming together and giving can actually be. 

‘Helping to protect one person is special, and helping to protect over 100,000 is really amazing’

Abe outlined the many reasons why students should donate, mentioning the “community and impact” MWA creates. He said it is “quite electric to see so many students celebrating and making significant donations to charity despite the challenges this year”. He highlighted just how huge of an impact we can make together, saying that “helping to protect one person is special, and helping to protect over 100,000 is really amazing”.

(Photo Credit: May Week Alternative Instagram Page)

As students, there is a lot we can learn from MWA’s positivity. MWA encourages students to “take this positive, meaningful approach to giving forwards into their future lives, creating a culture where deliberate giving is normalised at university and beyond”. Abe also emphasised that “helping effect huge change in the world” and “bringing students together no matter what” is hugely important to MWA. 

‘Planning for their Summer party to take place’

Of course, it wouldn’t be 2020 if we didn’t ask MWA how Covid would affect this year’s summer party. Becca told us they are “planning for their Summer party to take place in one of several different forms -for example, group picnics or several smaller gatherings”. Last year, MWA hosted a week of virtual events and a “May Week Mega Event” last year, and they still aim to do what they can to create a positive community for students, no matter the circumstances.

Becca told us she is “proud of how the MWA community has kept growing throughout the lockdowns”, with Abe emphasised that “what is special about the MWA summer party is that it doesn’t need a particular format to be special-because what we’re celebrating is the incredible collective impact our community has had together”. MWA still very much “plans to celebrate together in some form, come what may!”.

(Photo Credit: May Week Alternative Instagram Page)

Commenting on what they are particularly proud of this year, Abe told The Tab that some of his highlights have been “meeting so many amazing people this year through MWA as well as the MWA music video we made this year (a Party in the USA parody!)”, which we would definitely recommend giving a watch. 

Becca also told us that she was pleased to have put on a “joint virtual launch party with our three sister organisations, which was an amazing event in a virtual world that we designed with games, music and hundreds of attendees”, highlighting that this was a “true testament to what MWA can achieve in these times”. Of course, Abe and Becca are also incredibly proud of the impact they have managed to have this year, despite the tough circumstances. 

‘We always strive to be as inclusive as possible’

MWA realises that although their recommended amount donation is £150 ‘(or £9 a week from now till the Summer party)”, not everyone will be able to, or feel comfortable, donate this amount. This is why their philosophy is “that students donate an amount that’s personally significant to them”. They emphasised how important it is to them that “everyone feels able to join us in celebrating through giving.”

By inviting students to give an amount that is significant to them, they “hope that all donors will stop and think about their decision to donate.” Abe said their “ultimate aim is for students to take this positive, deliberate approach towards giving into the future lives.” He also said, “this is why we recommend £150, or a donation of any size significant to the donor, and always strived to be as inclusive as possible.”

‘MWA has definitely been a highlight of my Cambridge experience’

Becca admitted that she first struggled with making “the largest charitable donation of [her] life”, while “on a student budget”. However, she realised “that’s exactly” what MWA’s “giving deliberately” philosophy is all about. She added that “celebrating the impact that [she] had been part of at the Summer Party was so uniquely special and definitely a highlight of [her] Cambridge experience”.

Becca also told us how rewarding it is to see the idea resonating with friends too, making the idea she believed so strongly in “all the more special by having friends there, celebrating the same thing too”.

Photo Credit: May Week Alternative Instagram Page

I am excited to see what MWA has in store for us this year, and I hope you’ll join me in donating to their wonderful cause. After an *unprecedented* year, help MWA raise an *unprecedented* amount of money, and find out more by visiting their website or Facebook page.

Feature Image Credit: May Week Alternative Instagram and Facebook Pages, Rebecca Tyson 

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