© Rutgers
As most of you are aware the horrors taking place in places like Syria are brutal and heartbreaking. Since last year things have not improved but rather gotten worse and we see millions of refugees fleeing, desperately and by any means, not seldom using smugglers who care little for their safety or well-being. Thousands have drowned or suffocated in transport with some 950 in April and several incidents with near 100 casualties each just this month with more than 2600 drowned in the Mediterranean thus far this year. And still they go, fully aware of the risks, because the chance is better than the alternative.


3 year old Alan Shenu from Kobane and three of four other unnamed refugee children who drowned and were washed ashore at a beach in Turkey. His brother and mother are also dead. They were fleeing from the massacres of the IS in Kobane, on the border of Turkey and were 13 people on a too small smuggler’s boat, hoping for safety and a better life. Turkey currently hosts about 1 million refugees from Syria alone, not counting the ca 100,000 Iraqis, Afganis and Iranians. It is estimated to grow to 1.9 million soon. In April 900 refugees drowned off the coast of Libya. About 300 of them were women and children. This happens regularly.

I believe we can do good things. Or we can make fools of ourselves and let our grandchildren wonder why we seem to have been blind and passive, leaving a legacy of shame behind us. Luckily, it never ceases to amaze me what incredible people that make up the Historical Fencing community. Your hospitality, openness, willingness to share and generosity is second to none and last year you really proved that in joining together to donate 955€ to help refugees and victims from the conflicts in Syria, paid to the Red Cross through HROARR.

Kobane in Syria where Aylan lived for three years with his family after having fled the IS from Damascus. This is after the attack of the IS of September 2014.

Kobane in Syria where Alan lived with his family after having fled the IS first from Damascus and later the massacres in Aleppo. This is after the attack of the IS of September 2014. This is what the family attempted to return to in 2015 and where they stayed from the beginning of 2015 until the new attacks of the IS in June 2015, after which they fled yet again, a fourth time, hoping for Canada, via Turkey and Greece, joining a close relative living there since 20 years. Photo copyright Marco Secchi/REX


Click image to download t-shirt print

So, continuing from last year, for two months every year, HROARR will be gathering funds for a specific, internationally recognized charity organization. We believe this is enough time for all of us to donate at least a little something, to help make the world a little bit better place to live in by giving hope and food to those who have very little or none.

If we can get about 10% of all the regular visitors of the site to donate at least 10€ then, as an example, 2500 people in Syria will be fed for a full month, which of course is just a drop in a country where 6 million are in desperate need of food and more than 3 million children have been forced to leave their homes, but for those people it is the difference between surviving with a minimum of dignity or plain starvation and death. And I think we can do better than just 2500 people…

So, this year too, your help will go to the Red Cross and more specifically their aid in Syria as it is one of the most desperate crises we have right now. A month’s worth of food for a grown up costs only about 10€ and contains rice, beans, salt and oil. A family pack costs less than 40€.

You can of course donate directly to the Red Cross, but we would encourage you to do so via HROARR, so we can pool our funds and make this into a tradition for the HEMA community where we try to raise the bar every year. This way we will also honour the chivalric ways of the fighters of old, both knights and especially the fencing guilds, who took particular care of the very weakest; the poor, widows and orphans, even including it in the statutes of the guilds, demanding the fencers to swear an oath on it.

Olimometer 2.52

So join us and be even more awesome than you already are! All companies, clubs and organizations that donate to this charity will be listed on a special page with their logo and a link to their site.

This campaign will run until the end of October, although you are quite welcome to donate monthly too, and we encourage everyone to spread this message to all fencers and fighters worldwide.

Also, since it has been requested, the small “text” image above links to a T-shirt print you can use to print t-shirts for yourself or your club, provided that you make no profit from this printing, or alternately donate any profit to this campaign. However, we much prefer for you to donate it all straight to the campaign. I thank you beforehand for any help you can give and leave you with the following words from Hávamál.

Fire is needed by the newcomer
Whose knees are frozen numb;
Meat and clean linen a man needs
Who has fared across the fells,

Water, too, that he may wash before eating,
Handcloth’s and a hearty welcome,
Courteous words, then courteous silence
That he may tell his tale.

Roger Norling Chief Editor of HROARR.com

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Payment information

Primarily, donations are made via Paypal and will thus be recorded in your own account. Consequently you should get yourself a Paypal account in order to donate, but luckily that is both free and quite practical to have anyways.
If you wish to donate to the HEMA Charity but do not like to transfer funds via Paypal, then you can of course also make a direct bank transfer. Contact me for details at [email protected].

All money will be saved in a special account at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken and transfered regularly. The personal data collected in the form above, is unfortunately required for tax/charity purposes, but will not be used in any other context.

Disclaimer: If the Red Cross changes their list of causes during the campaign, another Red Cross support cause will be selected instead.