Two days ago, on December 15, London-based fashion journalist Laura Weir started a seven-day ‘mini-advent’ auction for Aleppo on her Instagram feed, selling off a different item each day and donating proceeds to charities on the ground in Syria, including Save the Children UK, the White Helmets and the International Rescue Committee. Bidding ends at 6pm each day and the auction has raised thousands of pounds already, with offers of support and donations arriving fast.
“I got the idea from an Instagram auction I saw being run by a friend,” she says. “Advent for Aleppo is similar – at first, I thought I would Instagram unopened gifts, some of my less knackered clothes, but as soon as I posted the first and second lots, contacts and friends began approaching me offering what they could, so I ended up with a selection of really amazing prizes.”
Weir admits it’s tough to stay motivated when the amount of bad news is overwhelming, but says the horrors of the situation in Aleppo really resonated with her – “I recently became a mother and my little girl got a cold for the first time this week – she's fine, but I thought, my god, imagine being unable to protect your own baby. The images coming out of the city – babies being pulled from rubble – gave me sleepless nights and made me think I need to help in any way I can.”
So far, auctions have included a covetable hardback retrospective of Kate Moss, and an afternoon’s cooking lesson with supper club hostess Anna Barnett, which raised £1200. “It's important because if we all stopped trying then it would completely fall apart,” she adds. “Instead of social media-ing about conflicts and crisis, use social media to do something about it. It's free and easy – especially when you're addicted to Instagram, like me.”
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