I remember our Managing Director asking Reesha, at the first meeting regarding the telethon, “can we raise a million?”
She took a moment, and having always dealt with all things financial at RaajjeTV, hesitantly replied, “Yes, we can”.
Yes, a million. That was the target. We were being realistic.
We have around 50 staff members at RaajjeTV, including the administration staff. So we figured we were dreaming within our limits.
So we started our work. Started making calls, letting people know we were doing this. Even though we had initially planned to hold the telethon from Friday to Saturday, we had to delay it from Sunday to Monday, due to the requests. It was during Eid and a number of people were out of town for celebrations, so we agreed. It also gave us time to prepare more.
This initial response was a huge sign that we were doing something amazing, but even then we had no clue as to the magnitide of what was to come.
During the time we came into an agreement with Maldives Red Crescent to handover the donation, appointed an independent auditor, MHPA, to ensure transparency, and Gage Private Limited, to ensure safety and security of the funds. These were very important to us, as we were asking the people to give their money, and they have the right to know how it was being handled and what was being done with it.
Businesses, councils, civil society organizations and well-known figures were soon were onboard, and we had ourselves a little team; and we kept in contact with all of them via our Viber group “RaajjeTV telethon”.
Six days after the announcement, the ‘Maldives with Rohingya’ telethon started at around 2:42 pm on Sunday. The slight delay was due to a power cut at RaajjeTV 's headoffice right before starting time.
We had reports and songs prepared, guests lined up, interviews set up, and contacts in the islands to call up during the telethon. Yes, we went in really prepared, and preparing more content during as well. (There were a few hiccups here and there, but when have there never?) We had 24 hours to fill. That was a LOT of airtime. But then, we also had the best TV presenters in the country, so that was a bonus for us!
There were a few of us who were working on no sleep at all, but most of were able to get a few hours of sleep. But that did not matter, lack of sleep was not going to slow any of us down that day, what is a few hours of no sleep compared to what the Rohingya Muslims were going through.
But that was all we did.
The rest of the work was done by the people.
It was the people who donated the funds. Sure, there were a few companies that gave notable amounts, but nothing even close to reach the MVR 5,167645.25 we raised.
The people from the islands were not going to let anyone beat them either, and had raised sums ranging from MVR 6,000 to over MVR 200,000.
If anyone had stopped by in front of the RaajjeTV office during the 30 hours, and monitored the fund box placed there, they would have seen people of different ages from different walks-of-life stopping by, to give what they can.
It was especially beautiful to have seen young kids do their part; because children are the hope of the future and should be taught that “human rights are the rights we are ALL endowed with, as members of the human race”.
So, yes, the success of the telethon undoubtedly goes to the people; whose generosity showed no bounds. The hefty amount raised in the short time shows the love and compassion you have for your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, and humanity.
Additionally, the MVR 5,167,645.26 raised in just 30 hours also shows the public’s trust and faith in RaajjeTV.
Thank you for that. We want to assure you that you will always be able to trust us, after all, what is RaajjeTV, if not the voice of the people.