Focus: Fundraising - Me and my charity - Josie D'Arby

Josie D'Arby is an actress and presenter. She has been involved with Surf, the Rwandan survivors fund, since last year.

How did you get involved with Surf? I was in a play written by Sonja Linden, I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda, for which I did a lot of research. After that, I was approached by Surf to take part in its 10th anniversary event at Trafalgar Square - I thought "brilliant, here's a chance for me to do something directly for the survivors".

The event involved a number of celebrities reading out real testimonials by survivors. When I found out there were only two people in the office editing them all, I said "make that three". It was very harrowing to edit them, but it was also strangely life-affirming.

Were you familiar with the Rwandan genocide before the play? I'm ashamed to say I wasn't - I wasn't really a news follower then. The world famously turned its back - it wasn't like the Asian tsunami or hurricane Katrina. When I did my research for the play, I couldn't understand how this had happened. Now I can fill people in about what happened, which is quite nice.

What other Surf events have you been involved in? I co-ordinated A Night for Rwanda at Jongleurs in London last week, with a line-up that included my friend, the singer Beverley Knight.

The event at Trafalgar Square was sombre and moving, whereas this event was about celebrating survival. Whenever I'm free and Surf needs me, it knows I'll be there.

Why do you admire Surf's work? A lot of the prisoners are being released now, meaning that people will see, at the shops, the person who wiped out their entire family. There are other charities that are concerned with supplying the more obvious things such as anti-retroviral drugs, but Surf simply goes out there and asks people what they really want.

A lot of them suffer from serious insomnia because they can't lock their doors and are too frightened to sleep. Supplying locks so people can get their first good night's sleep in years can make such a difference.

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