Hands Up Foundation is now Action Syria

Introducing our new ambassadors: Ayman Alhussein, Iain Burnside, Lindsey Hilsum, Hector McCulloch, and Romilly Weeks

We are delighted that the following brilliant and inspiring people have joined Hands Up as ambassadors. From award-winning broadcasters and journalists to filmmakers, reporters and dedicated fundraisers, they span a range of disciplines. As ambassadors, they help to raise our profile and support us in ensuring that Syrian communities have the medical care and education they need, every day and when emergencies strike.

Ayman Alhussein

Ayman is a Syrian cinematographer based in London. A self-taught filmmaker, his passion started when filming his journey to the UK, including his one year in the Calais’ jungle refugee camp, which ultimately led to him contributing footage to the Deadbeat Films documentary AYMAN telling his story.

He has since shot films for multiple NGOs like Choose Love and UNHCR as well as creative projects for various brands including the NHS and music artists like Anne-Marie.

He also works as an authenticity consultant, translator on films like The Swimmers, and Jungle.

His latest project is the short film Matar, which he shot and co-wrote. He volunteers as an Arabic interpreter to help asylum seekers in the UK.

Iain Burnside

Both a pianist and award-winning broadcaster, Iain has appeared in recital with many of the world’s leading singers (“pretty much ideal” BBC Music Magazine). His recordings straddle an exuberantly eclectic repertoire ranging from Beethoven and Schubert to the cutting edge, as in the Gramophone Award-winning NMC Songbook.

Away from the piano, Burnside is active as a writer and broadcaster. As presenter of BBC R3’s Voices he won a Sony Radio Award. For Guildhall School of Music & Drama Iain has devised a number of singular theatre pieces.

He is a long-time friend of Hands Up and was the driving force behind our Music for Syria event in 2019, which included performances from Mitsuko Uchida, The Heath Quartet and Syrian poet Amineh Abou Kerech.

Lindsey Hilsum

Lindsey is the International Editor for Channel 4 News and has covered many of the conflicts of recent years including in Syria, Ukraine and the Arab Spring.

She was in Baghdad for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and in Belgrade for the 1999 NATO bombing. In 1994, she was the only English-speaking correspondent in Rwanda when the genocide began. She has reported regularly and extensively on Syria.

She has won awards from the Royal Television Society and BAFTA amongst others, and received the 2017 Patron’s Medal from the Royal Geographical Society.

In 2018, she published a biography of Marie Colvin: “In Extremis – the Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin”, winning the 2019 James Tait Black Prize for biography.

Lindsey has been a supporter of Hands Up since it started.

Hector McCulloch

Hector is Hands Up’s hero. Having fundraised for us for years, doing everything from the smarties challenge (filling smartie tubes with 20p coins) and making it into the local paper, to camping out in a storm with his dog, we wanted to make it official and are delighted that Hector is now a Hands Up ambassador.

Hector loves spending time with all the animals at home, playing football and games with his friends. 

He was a bit surprised and modest about being asked to be an Ambassador but hopes the role will help him tell more children about the situation in Syria, why he has been fundraising for Hands Up, and where the funds go. 

Hector says “I hope that the money we’ve raised will help a little bit. I’m not going to stop collecting.”

Romilly Weeks

Romilly has covered events all around the world as an experienced broadcaster and presenter for ITV News. She is currently based at Westminster as Political Correspondent.

During her career, Romilly was embedded with the British Army during the Second Gulf War and reported from Ukraine in the current conflict.  She has spent more time than she cares to think about covering Brexit and has outlasted 5 Prime Ministers, so far.

When not immersed in politics she occasionally returns to Royal events, reporting on both the death of the Queen and the Coronation of Charles III.  

Romilly is a mentor to young journalists through the John Schofield Trust and an Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.

Romilly helped launch Hands Up’s key campaign Singing for Syrians in 2016 and has been a generous supporter and adviser ever since.

Our Ambassadors raise awareness of Hands Up’s work, providing medical services and education for the most vulnerable Syrian communities. Hands Up works with local partners to make sure Syrian communities have the medical care and education they need, every day and when emergencies strike. We aim to provide sustainable aid, keeping communities safe, supporting them to cope with crises, and continue recovery towards a brighter future.

Rose Essam, CEO of Hands Up says “It is so important that we do not forget the 15.3 million people in need of humanitarian aid in Syria. As we commit to reaching more people with lifesaving and life-changing aid, it is a powerful and reassuring boost to have such committed and knowledgeable Ambassadors adding their voice to our cause.”

Join us to make a positive difference to Syrian communities.

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