“Good managers make a lot happen out of a little”
Chartered Manager Alka Bohorun’s light-hearted lockdown diversion morphed into a project that’s turning the despair of poverty into happiness and hope for the future. Here’s how her management skills made it happen.
Ever since childhood, Alka Bohorun CMgr FCMI has sung with her father. She believes passionately in the emotional benefits that singing can bring. In 2020, as the Covid pandemic struck, she saw many people around her doing things to help with the Covid effort and raise money for the NHS.
“Because I've always believed in giving and serving, I wanted to help but I wasn't sure how,” she says. So she started asking people to send videos of them singing. “I put them up on YouTube just to cheer everyone up.”
The videos proved very popular and Alka soon realised she could tag on a charity fundraiser. “I came up with the idea of a ‘songathon’ and people loved it.” It raised about £600, which she donated to the British Heart Foundation.
A few fundraisers down the line, Alka was surprised to receive a request for funding for a project in Kenya. With no guarantee it was a genuine request, she felt she had to turn it down. But it opened her eyes to the wider potential of BH40 (Be Happy For Nothing).
Alka, a Chartered Manager, was running her own business helping to establish companies, community interest companies (CICs) and charities. So she used her marketing and compliance skills to set up BH40 as a limited company, leveraging her contacts to set up a voluntary advisory panel and a silent board of voluntary directors. She raised funds by selling BH40 branded t-shirts that could be used to support overseas projects. Today, Alka also runs various fundraising events, such as online talent shows and charity balls, to attract more sponsorship from businesses and other organisations.
Three years on, BH40 now supports social benefit projects in ten countries across Africa, Asia, North America and Europe. The projects address local needs and can involve anything from funding basic provisions for an orphanage or providing exercise and art activities to support mental health, to helping young people living in poverty to set up a business. The goal is to turn the despair caused by poverty into happiness for children and youths.
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