Category Archive: kickstarter

  1. Seize Anglo Sikh Heritage!

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    This month I want to inspire you all.  Yes YOU!

    For far too long work on the agenda of Anglo-Sikh heritage has been the bastion of politically motivated and ego-centric organisations.

    Such organisations use and abuse contacts and well-wishers, burn bridges with new and established talent and prevent others from leading on heritage awareness programmes.  I am thinking of one organisation in particular.

    Not any more.

    Through our Kickstarter campaign, the #WW1SikhMemorial has proved that good ideas will find support and funds to become a reality.

    That where there is a need to raise awareness and promote the history and heritage we are proud of, people and groups will band together to make something great happen.

    That’s how I feel about the memorial project.

    It was an idea I had in the back of my mind for a very long time.  Ever since I started making films under the “Sikhs At War” banner, uploading them for free usage as a resource on the websites I felt there was a need for a lasting legacy of Sikh remembrance.

    I watched with interest to see whether anyone would occupy the space devoid of a memorial and try to create something fantastic.  It didn’t happen.

    So earlier this year, when I decided that my own journey to narrate the WW1 Sikh story through online films was coming to an end, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to see left behind for future generations.

    It’s one that has inspired me – both as a Brit and as a Sikh.

    The old adage came to mind that: we shape buildings and in future buildings shape us (or words to that effect).

    With the centenary commemorations of the start of the Great War taking place, I was sure there would be some move to create a memorial.

    But nothing happened.

    That’s when I knew it was my duty to MAKE it happen.

    I looked to the social fundraising site Kickstarter to plan how to raise money from the grassroots to create a memorial.

    I thought that for a memorial to be not just successful but to stand the test of time, it needed to have mass support.  My belief became that it should be a monument funded by the many and not the few who could afford it.

    I filmed and put together a short video, nothing amazing, but one which told the important facts of what I wanted to do.

    I consulted a lot, in private, with individuals and groups.  Ascertained what the thoughts of Sikhs and non-Sikhs were about a national memorial.  And I put these ideas into a plan.

    Then I waited.  I waited for summer, then I waited for the world cup to be over.  Secretly, I wondered whether anyone else would gazump me by launching a Kickstarter campaign first.  I didn’t mind, this would after all create a lot of work for me at a time when I need to let go of responsibilities.

    Then came the planning for “Saragarhi day” which I created and organised and was a tremendous success.

    When was the best time to launch a campaign?  I thought long and hard…

    It wasn’t the summer and it wasn’t when people were pre-occupied with football.  So it had to be after.  And so I prepared the ground work of the project.  I budgeted the memorial.  I made connections with the proposed venue.  I consulted more Sikhs and non-Sikhs.  I wrote a proposal.  I met with business leaders and potential corporate donors.  I tried to partner with other Sikh groups (too much politics).

    Then came the time to launch … and with baited breath the campaign went live.

    You know that the #WW1SikhMemorial campaign was a huge success – but you probably don’t know why it was so.

    In a series of blogs this month I will aim to show you why it was – and in turn try and encourage you to seek such ways of empowerment to make your own projects happen.

    Seize the initiative!  Don’t allow the oldies and politics cloud your ability – if you believe it make it happen!  I believe there are many many more great initiatives out there, and I want to pass on what I have learnt so that more young people can create history and heritage.

    For now, and you’ve probably guessed what I’ve been trying to get to with this post; let me tell you that a successful campaign is about a good idea and preparation.

    If its not a good idea – which has wider appeal and realistic potential; and you don’t prepare the groundwork, then you will fail.  Either you won’t find the money or resources, or you will but the final outcome will be a flop.

    So think about what you want to create – be energetic and enthusiastic but ultimately be realistic.

    Plan it and plan some more … but ultimately think about what need their is out there.

    In part 2 I will shed light on the final outcome of the memorial project and what it can tell you about creating a wide support base.

  2. Kickstarted! The National WW1 Sikh Memorial

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    *** The National WW1 Sikh Memorial has now been funded!!! ***

    Thank you to everyone who donated and supported the WW1 Sikh Memorial appeal on Kickstarter.

    We have reached our budgeted goal of £20,000 plus a little extra … which will mean we can:
    1 – create a lasting national memorial
    2 – create a souvenir publication for it
    3 – put on a prestigious event for mainstream media coverage.

    In doing all three of these we will ensure that there is:
    1 – a permanent monument at the heart of remembrance in the UK to Sikhs
    2 – inspiration for future generations to learn from and appreciate this sacrifice
    3 – the story of the Sikh contribution becomes an international news event.

    Our intention was to create a grassroot and youth-led movement in order to enact a memorial, not gifted by government or funded by a small circle BUT with mass involvement – on behalf of Sikhs and non-Sikhs – who feel proud of the heroic contribution made by the martial race.

    This is why we turned to Kickstarter, feeling that the social media nature of the endeavour fitted with our target audience and with our aspiration to not just create a sculptor but a living heritage which is narrated and shared by all.

    We have achieved that:
    – with 153 people donating to the project
    – with mainstream media coverage
    – with tens of thousands of social media impressions

    We believe in inspiring people to not just volunteer with heritage but to own a piece of THEIR heritage.

    For far too long the British-Sikh heritage agenda has been driven by politically motivated organisations, run by an old guard of ego’s who usurp ideas and funding without mass impact.

    We have changed that and firmly put the power of heritage back into the hands of those passionate about leaving a lasting legacy.

    We are not digging up the bones of old Maharaja’s or taking credit for others work – but creating something new and unique….

    In time we will continue our work to inspire more of you – by offering advice and insights in a unique article on how to run a successful grassroots Kickstarter campaign.  I’m hopeful this will see many many more ideas within the community come to fruition.

    For now, I leave you some of the fantastic comments we have received.  We look forward to sharing the memorial’s developments with you soon…

    “I thing this memorial proposal is a really great idea and will be a good permanent reminder of the sikh contributions in the war.”
    B. Kaur

    “Thank you for your sacrifices; projects such as this and the fine gentlemen of the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs Regiment serve to remind us that our great grandfathers fought and bested a common foe and helped put the Great in Britain.  In these times when immigration has become a dirty word, this is a timely reminder that the Sikh community earned its place in this country and make up a proud part of our heritage.”

    “I feel deeply honoured and am proud ro be both british and sikh. These men fought for our freedom they are the reason why sikhs live in the united kingdom. We sikh s complain we never get recognition and are all classed as Asian this memorial will raise our status in the country and bridge the gap in our different identify into the minds of the uk mindset…”
    J.S. Minhas

    Such a great project – I’m proud to support it and hope others will, too.”
    M. Wallace

    “Thank you for making sure that the memory of all those who fought with such unparallelled gallantry and selfless courage will be preserved – and their sacrifice honoured with a beautiful and dignified memorial!”
    P Hagglund

    “As a ex-serviceman who got quite emotional about this subject in the past for there was no real recognition for the fallen …. at last we have succeeded for a memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum may it be a fitting memorial to our warrior ancestors who came to foreign lands so far from home to fight for justice and equality against evil suppressors when they were called upon from Britain….”
    G Singh

  3. WW1 Sikh Memorial Fund: Half Way Point Update

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    *** Donate to the WW1 Sikh Memorial Fund by clicking here ***

    We are now half way through the campaign to create a WW1 Sikh Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.

    Before an update on the campaign so far, I’d like to thank all those who send messages of support via private message and on social media.  Here is one I’d like to share:

    “Just contributed to your great idea for a Sikh WW1 memorial, I very much hope this will happen. I just wanted to commend you and thank you and the sikhs@war team for the work you have done in your project. It is a really important subject and is vital for future generations.”

    The campaign has been going well, it started many months ago with strategy discussions, coalition building and research into whether a memorial was necessary.  We decided to press ahead because there is an overwhelming desire to create a legacy of remembrance.  We’ve continued our work behind the scenes by meeting with interested donors and businessmen, building dialogue with supporters and Sikh organisations and engaging with the media.  It’s a lot of hard work for us volunteers.

    In particular I’ve been raising awareness of the project in the mainstream by appearing in national media including BBC, Sikh Channel, Arise News and BFBS Forces TV.  This is all with the aim of encouraging more donors to step forward and support our efforts.

    I’ve said we – the spark to create this memorial came from me but this is a project backed and progressed by serving Sikhs in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, who recognise the significance of a memorial and what it will mean for future generations of British Sikhs.

    So far just over 30 people have stepped forward to donate to the campaign, including one patron.  The funds we have gathered take us a third of the way to our target – but more needs to be done to hit the full amount.  If we do not raise the requisite £20,000 needed we will not get a penny that has been pledged and this project will wilt away.  So I urge you not just to donate what you can but share the campaign with friends and family and encourage them to donate too.

    The project has been fully costed, and we’re lucky to be working with a very talented sculptor on the grand design.  To the left is a busk created by Mark ?.  The concept we have been working with him on is one which depicts the image of the Sikh soldier in all his glory – with proud turban and uncut beard symbolising the spirit and physical form of the Khalsa.  We’d like your thoughts on the design and we continue to work to perfect the memorial.

    Finally, this is an open and accessible project.  The memorial, once funded, will be organised by a charity which will be set up to administer it.  This is not an individual vanity project but one for the good of the community.  I urge you to ask on this forum any questions you like about the memorial with the aim of better educating yourself about our work and intentions.  We are heritage enthusiasts not politicians!

    I end with a thanks in advance for supporting the memorial campaign, and any efforts you can put in to ensure this much needed project happens.

    *** Donate to the WW1 Sikh Memorial Fund by clicking here ***