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Student's entrepreneurial skills help raise funds for tsunami disaster relief

Published: 24 January 2005

An enterprising University of Southampton student is using a network of old school friends and sports contacts to raise money and provide emergency supplies for the victims of the tsunami in South East Asia.

Alexander Bryant (22) has received pledges amounting to thousands of pounds since he launched his fundraising campaign just two days after the tsunami struck. A qualified diving instructor, who has lived in Singapore for the last fifteen years, he should have been in Phuket in Thailand over Christmas but his trip was cancelled at the last minute.

After seeing television news reports of the devastation, he and two friends contacted a charity in Aceh, Indonesia. The charity, which is linked to the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore where all three went to school, explained that water purification kits and oral rehydration salts were most urgently needed. The trio then arranged to buy the supplies in bulk and also made contact with a shipping firm and a distributor who agreed to deliver any supplies they could provide.

Alex, Zal Dastur and Zubin Rada Krishnan began emailing and ringing former pupils of the College, friends and other contacts asking them to donate medical kits or money to aid the relief operation. The first ship-load of supplies is due to be delivered to Aceh next month and meanwhile the fundraising effort is continuing.

Alex explains: "When we saw the pictures on television, my friends and I felt we had to do something positive to help. The disaster seemed very close to home: I have lived in the region for many years and was planning to be in Phuket myself at Christmas. Some of my friends were in Phuket at the time but fortunately are safe.

"As I'm studying for a Masters degree in Business Venturing at Southampton, it seemed obvious to use my entrepreneurial skills to help in the relief effort. We're hoping to continue to raise money and ship supplies for as long as help is needed."

Pledges of support for Alex's campaign can be emailed to acehmedicalrelief@yahoo.co.uk and donations can be made through www.paypal.com.

Notes for editors

A digital image of Alexander Bryant is available on request.

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