Red Noses for sale, poor children to benefit

The sale of red noses began in Iceland this Friday, and it had nothing to do with the weather.

Iceland’s fourth Red Nose Day will be held on the 9th December. Red Nose Day in Iceland is closely modelled on the event with the same name in the United Kingdom; but in Britain it is the principle fund-raising tool of a specially-created charity called Comic Relief. In Iceland the day is part of the much wider fund-raising operations of UNICEF in the country. Both days end up funding projects to help some of the poorest people in the world and some of the most disadvantaged at home — although UNICEF’s remit is to focus its work specifically on children.

Wherever it is held, Red Nose Day uses fun, laughter and downright stupidity to help charities do very serious work.

Former Icelandic President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is patron of UNICEF Iceland’s regular monthly supporters, called World Parents. The former president was therefore first in line and bought the first four red noses. There are three designs to choose from this year, each with a face and a distinct personality, called: Skjóða, Skotta and Skreppur. Vigdís decided to buy Skotta for herself and purchased three other noses for her grandchildren.

Red Nose Day is a big collection day for UNICEF, the United Nations children’s charity. The day will culminate with a free-to-view telethon on Stöð 2 television on the evening of 9th December. One of the key goals of Red Nose Day, as well as one-off donations, is to increase the number of World Parents; Icelanders who give a set amount to UNICEF automatically through their bank each month. There are already some 17,000 World Parents, but there can never be enough.

The telethon will feature emotional video clips from Sierra Leone, Haiti and elsewhere, mixed with Icelandic comedy, stand-up and music.

Red noses are now available for ISK 1,000 (EUR 6.24) in Bónus, Hagkaup, MP Bank and in Te & Kaffi branches. They will also be sold by Scouts all over the country.

(Photo: UNICEF Iceland)