*** WE MADE IT!!!! Thank you to everyone for donating and supporting. *** NEW TARGET: Help us get to £25k and the additional funds will go towards outreach events with schools UK-wide ***
Who Are We?
First and foremost we're passionate about British Sikh military history and heritage.
That's the key thing for us - our story as the successful descendants of a migrant community is based on a legacy created by our forebears as devout hardworking and honest Sikhs, who fought for justice and against tyranny. The image of them paying tribute at the tomb of the unknown warrior (above) shows how they were held in such high esteem.
When the First World War broke out, nearly 130,000 Sikh combat troops were sent to every corner of the conflict. To put that into context that's more people than could fill Wembley Stadium, and a greater number than the current British Army.
We feel it's important to remember our ancestors contribution and promote their heroics. While this is a story we all believe in wholeheartedly, it's lamentable that there is no national memorial dedicated to their memory and sacrifices.
That's why the "Sikhs At War" project is bringing together a team of professional British Sikhs - including members of the Armed Forces - to create an everlasting memorial.
The "WW1 Sikh Memorial Fund" will set up and administer the UK's first national memorial to Sikhs who served during the First World War - and it'll be funded via Kickstarter by grassroots supporters - YOU.
Why Do You Need £££?
Our goal is to create an everlasting memorial to the memory of the Sikh soldiers who served during WW1.
It's important because our forefathers were a unique breed - staunch in their faith of their Sikh faith and traditions and dedicated to serving a righteous cause.
They fought not just in Europe but all over the world: from Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) to the North West Frontier with Afghanistan via East Africa, Egypt and Jerusalem.
Their heroism is a truly remarkable story - one that not only pays tribute to the glorious past but can be inspire the future.
A Sikh memorial at the heart of The National Memorial Arboretum will ensure the legacy of Sikh contribution is never forgotten. That those thousands upon thousands of people who visit the arboretum to remember their relatives in past, current (and future) conflicts also see the image of the Sikh soldier - and acknowledge that the Khalsa too was represented on the battlefields of WW1.
But it will cost money to make it happen.
How Much Do You Need?
We're fundraising for £20,000 - which is a lot but what we need to create an everlasting memorial. We will be supplement this through patrons and corporate sponsors of our souvenir publication. But we believe that the WW1 Sikh Memorial should not just be funded by a small group of individuals who can afford it but by every Sikh household - that means YOU.
Yes, YOU! Why? Because this will be YOUR memorial ... one which you will be able to visit whenever you like (subject to opening times). One which we want you to love like it's your own child. To take selfies with and share on Facebook. To proudly promote to your friends, encourage non-Sikhs to visit and to say to the world - "Sikhs fought and sacrificed for Britain too".
YES we are serious. For far too long the memory of Sikh sacrifice has been overlooked, yet it's what binds us to our past glories as a community and inspires our future generations. You'll have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the Sikh story is remembered now and not forgotten in future.
It's pointless creating an everlasting memorial to the memory of Sikh soldiers if we do not have a base of supporters across the UK (if not the world) to be able to support it. That's why we have launched this Kickstarter campaign, to get as many people to be a part of the project by contributing to it and thus owning a % of it.
We've reflected this in our donor rewards - so that you will be recognised for your contribution with as much or as little as you can afford to give.
Every donor will be given the opportunity to attend the prestigious launch event, and we encourage those who can contribute more to do so.
We've got different reward schemes to encourage you to give more and be rightly rewarded for your contributions.
But I'm Not A Sikh
That shouldn't stop you donating - in fact we're looking for non-Sikhs to get involved and share in our passion for the project. Perhaps you have an ancestor who fought alongside the Sikhs? Or are connected to the many British or British Indian regiments that served during WW1? Or you could be a history enthusiast who believes in creating a lasting memorial in Britain so that this history is not forgotten. We want you to be a part of what we're creating, because ensuring the story of Sikh service permeates into all corners of Britain and is acknowledged by all Brits is important.
Where Will The Money Go?
The biggest cost is of course the memorial itself. That's why we're working with an established sculptor to create a work of art (an impression of what the memorial will look like is below).
Then there are the fees associated with having the memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, for the installation and maintenance.
The money you donate will all go towards the memorial and for a souvenir publication to celebrate the history of Sikhs. Within that publication we will also list our donors and you will be invited to our launch event when we unveil the memorial.
While £20,000 will enable us to do all this - anything we raise above this amount will mean we can hire a professional PR firm to ensure international mainstream media coverage.
What If I Don't Have Any Money?
As mentioned, our project is about getting as many people to be a part of the memorial as possible. Money is the easiest way to help us achieve our goal. But if you're broke (or stingy) or don't trust modern technology to part with your cash, there are other ways you can be a part of the team:
Raise Other People's Money: give us other people's money by undertaking a charity venture. Jump out of a plane, run a marathon, watch 24 hours of Indian dramas (probably the hardest endeavour on that list). You get the picture - you can do anything you like to help us raise the necessary funds, as long as its legal. And we'll give you a limited edition goody bag and feature you in our souvenir publication to show our thanks.
Share On Social Media: share this link on Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets that young people use. Get the message out there through your social networks - or go old school, contact us and we'll provide you flyers to put up at your work, community centre or place of worship.
You can Tweet your support - here are some examples you can copy and send:
Help serving British Sikhs create a #WW1SikhMemorial by donating to the @SikhsAtWar Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2057591483/ww1-national-sikh-memorial
#WW1SikhMemorial is a not4profit venture to create something epic in honour of those who fought. We needs your help!: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2057591483/ww1-national-sikh-memorial
You've got all the information to make an informed decision, and we hope our film has inspired you to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference on Anglo-Sikh heritage.
Please donate your daswandh or as much as you can afford - and help us spread the word by sharing this on social media.
If you have any questions, we're happy to answer them here or you can email the team directly via firstname.lastname@example.org
We're also keen to hear from you if you'd like to be involved in planning the memorial and event or contributing to the publication.
Risks and challenges
This is a BIG project - but we're equipped to make it happen. Our team has years of experience undertaking social ventures, creating productions and big impact events that get talked about in the mainstream media as well as have a lasting legacy.
This includes: the Arts Council "Turbanology" exhibition that toured many cities and exhibited at London Bridge, and the prestigious "Sikhs At Sandhurst" event which has since seen a regular "Saragarhi Day" event established at the Royal Military Academy.
Plus we have the support of British Sikhs of various ranks in the Armed Forces to make this happen.
The challenge is two-fold: raising the required funds to undertake the project on an ambitious scale and without cutting costs or quality. And to do so within the timescale of WW1 commemorations.
Launching the Kickstarter campaign now means we can get the funds in place and begin the hard work to capitalise now on the world's attention when the commemorations around the centenary anniversary take place.
With funds in place by October, we are planning on having the production of the memorial begin before the end of the year - and a launch event in early 2015 to coincide with major battles that Sikhs were involved in on the western front.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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