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ENGLISH INTERVIEW: Silver Lining talks to Iceland News about new charity to help Icelanders affected by economic crisis.

 

picture-4.pngWhen Sirry Jonasdottir found out Icelanders were struggling to send their children to school because of the country’s financial crisis, she’d had enough.

“Parents were calling their children sick for the first days as they couldn’t afford the books or the pencils,” Jonasdottir says. “There was a single mother with three sons and she could not afford to put all of them to school. That really, really, shocked me.”

Jonasdottir, 37, and her partner, Veigar Margeirsson, 37, are two ex-pat Icelanders living in Los Angeles, California. As well as running their music production company, they’ve set up a charity called Silver Lining, to help raise money for fellow Icelanders most affected by the country’s financial crisis.

Since the crisis began in October 2008, on the surface things didn’t look that bad. Yet according to Margeirsson there’s a silent problem running deep. “A lot of people who need this help are extremely embarrassed and ashamed,” he says. “So sometimes it looks like things are not so bad. But when we talk to the people who are giving out the food they say it’s worse than ever.”

One of those groups giving out the food in Iceland is the Family Help Center. They’ve been having 300 families a week use the service according to Jonasdottir. However, with the Christmas period fast approaching, they’re expecting it’s going to be more than double that number for the month of December.

“We hear from the Family Help Center they really are nervous,” she explains. “They know that in December… it’s just going to be needed more than ever because… you want a decent meal on Christmas.”

Charity origins

Back in the summer Jonasdottir and Margeirsson knew Christmas would be a time of increased need. So their charity went from an idea to a functioning non-profit within a month. Their goal is to send the sum of money they collect before the end of the year and hope people abroad can now donate without having to spend an extra $40 wiring the money to Iceland.

Since the charity began donations have come in from all over the world, including Luxemburg, Denmark and other Scandinavian countries.

Margeirsson is also seeing a lot of donations from people that have lost touch with Iceland, who seem to like the fact that somebody is trying to help. “It also shows that even though they’ve been away for a long time… they still sincerely care about their home country,” he says. “Even though we live here we’re still Icelanders.”

Initial donations

The first person to donate to the charity was 33-year-old Karl Jonsson. He’s an Icelander living abroad for the past 12 years, having co-founded a business based out of Singapore, with offices in Irvine, California.

“(I’ve) always been very proud of my country and where I come from. It has been very sad seeing the collapse over the last year,” Jonsson explains. “I felt bad that I couldn’t do anything. It’s not easy to transfer money to Iceland.”

So he opened his wallet to the tune of a few hundred dollars, which with the fall in the value of the Icelandic Krona, can go a long way, he says.

It’s a generous donation, even with the fall of the currency. Margeirsson hopes that many people will give whatever they can give, big or small.

As 2010 approaches then, the problems in Iceland are worse than they have ever been in the last several decades.“Unfortunately… predictions are… it’s not going to get better for a while,” he adds.

For more information on Silver Lining visit: http://www.silverliningcharity.org/

Welcome to Iceland News in English

It took a long time to figure out how to get a blog on here, but I finally did it! Hello Iceland!

I'm actually from England but live and study journalism in Canada.

I started an Icelandic news blog (in English).

 It is called:

 

IcelandNews.is

 

Enjoy and Let me know what you think!


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Iceland News

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Jim Saunders
Jim Saunders
English language news and views on Iceland.

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