Moustache charity campaign raises funds in Qatar

December 11, 2011

Rich tributes were paid to college students in Qatar after successfully raising funds and awareness about men’s health through a lighthearted campaign.

Taking part in Movember, a portmanteau of the slang word “mo” for moustache and “November”, the students from Carnegie Mellon began the month of November clean-shaven and spent the next 30 days cultivating their moustaches.

Much like the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness, the moustache becomes a symbol that is used as a conversation-starter about prostate cancer, as well as a personal reminder to get a health check.

Carnegie Mellon’s Movember initiative was co-organised by the Office of Health and Wellness and the Active Women’s Club. Women help the cause by recruiting men and coordinating fundraising events.

“In the past, we have done things for breast cancer awareness, but this year we wanted to get everyone involved,” said Reham Shaikh, a business administration student and member of the Active Women’s Club.

Carnegie Mellon’s campaign, one of the first in Qatar, raised money to support research, education and patient services at the Qatar National Cancer Society.

However, for organisers, the campaign pushed the campus to talk about the taboo subject of men’s health.

“When you do not usually grow a moustache and then people see you with one, they ask about it – and then you can tell them why you are growing it,” Kenrick Fernandes, a sophomore studying computer science, said.

At the celebration event, men with the most creative moustaches won prizes and women who had recruited the most men were recognised.

Students also lit lanterns commemorating people who have survived cancer, people who are suffering, and those who have died from the disease.

According to the US-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, with a person’s risk increasing with age,. The agency recommends men talk with their doctors about their risks, and discuss the potential benefits of screening.

Movember, started eight years ago by a group of Australian men as a lighthearted way to call attention to a serious disease, allows today a million participants worldwide to raise more than $80 million for charities supporting prostate cancer and others cancers that affect men.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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