Currently open through until the end of September 29th, is the 2019 Spoonful of Sugar festival, bringing together fashion, home and garden, breedable designers and creators, artists, DJs and live performers to help raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
Also known as Doctors Without Borders, MSF was founded in Paris, France in 1971 as a non-profit, self-governed medical humanitarian organisation delivering emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare around the globe, based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.
Since that time, MSF has grown to a movement of 24 associations, bound together as MSF International, based in Switzerland. Thousands of health professionals, logistical and administrative staff – most of whom are hired locally – work on programmes in some 70 countries worldwide. See the video at the end of this article for more on MSF.
Spoonful of Sugar is now in its fifth year, and has thus far raised US $40,000 for MSF as a part of the organisation’s Vital Pact Campaign – and hopes to take that total to at least US $50,000 in 2019.
Every year, Spoonful of Sugar selects a theme for its core event. This year, the focus is very much middle-eastern: a desert environment with out of which have grown four small “towns”, each an oasis of human life in which the streets form a souq and home to many of the merchants participating in this year’s event. Large sponsors of the event are to be found gathered around the oasis a short walk from the landing point.
But the setting is not simply about the romance of the desert and camel trains of traders; it actually underscores the focus for Spoonful of Sugar this year: the plight of refugees, which over the last several years has been brought sharply into focus by the crises that continue to rock the middle-east. World-wide, there are now a recorded 70.8 “forcibly displaced” people (only 20 million of who are officially designated “refugees”) who – however unwillingly – have had to flee their homelands due to war, political or religious extremism, gang violence, terror, or other life-threatening circumstances.
These 70.8 million recognised refugees make up a significant portion of MSF’s work – as the Spoonful of Sugar landing point reveals. And in an age when those of a certain political stripe repeatedly opt to demonize people who are fleeing their homelands – and often leaving behind friends and families – to escape death and destruction as “the worst people” and / or “rapists and murderers”, focusing on the huge humanitarian efforts performed by organisations like MSF is fully warranted.
I’m here to tell you that nobody wants to leave home. They love their cities, their neighbourhoods. They love speaking their own language. The people fleeing their home countries are running because their home countries aren’t safe. They are fleeing for their lives.
– Dr. Ahmed Abdalzarag, MSF neurosurgeon
Thus, the landing point offers visitors an opportunity to look inside a typical refugee camp and witness the work that MSF carries out, from triaging injuries and illnesses to working the logistics of food, drinking water and other essential supplies to providing shelter. Information boards throughout outline the work and offer insight into MSF’s multi-faceted work. Yes, the setting may desert, but it could also so easily be the grasslands of Africa, the forests of South America – or any of the multitude of places around the globe where refugees are attempting to seek help and support; as such I do recommend that rather than hopping straight on to the teleport boards and going shopping, people spend a few minutes within the camp.
As well as the shopping opportunities, there is also entertainment taking place over the weekends of the event – with a schedule available via the Spoonful of Sugar website. Also forming part of the event is the gacha area and the event raffle, while updates and information can also be found on the Spoonful of Sugar website.