Being part of the Tartan Army is more than a love of football or representing Scotland abroad. It’s about making friends wherever we go, and it was one of these friendships that led to the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal.
During a trip to Bosnia in 1999, a local man now known to the Tartan Army simply as “Mirza” embraced Scotland and the Tartan Army. A couple of years later he made his new friends aware of a boy called Kemal Karic. During the shelling of Sarajevo in 1992, as his mother ran for cover whilst carrying 3 month old Kemal , his leg was blown off just above the knee and his mother was killed. Now a young boy, Kemal urgently needed funding to pay for a new prosthetic leg.
Ideas for raising money began to circulate around the Tartan Army and before long enough money had been raised to help Kemal. Indeed, there was money left over and following discussions on the Tartan Army Message Board, it was decided to donate to a needy cause at Scotland’s next away game. This was in Lithuania in 2003. See here for details. And so the Tartan Army Message Board Sunshine Appeal was born.
As more people became aware of the Appeal through the Message Board, it became clear that the fundraising was set to continue. The Tartan Army was showing great generosity and imagination and the Sunshine Appeal made its aim “to bring a little sunshine to the lives of children whose countries were visited by the Tartan Army on tour”
In March 2004 it was decided to change the name from Tartan Army Message Board Sunshine Appeal to the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal (TASA) to reflect the wider involvement of the Tartan Army and reassure contributors that the Sunshine Appeal was not exclusive to the Message Board users.
The story did not end there and in 2007 with Kemo now 15 years old, further specific fundraising allowed for him to finally visit Scotland where he was the mascot for the key Scotland v Italy qualifier. See more on that story here.
Fast forward a few years and TASA has now made over 60 consecutive donations in countries in which the Scottish National team has played. Details on all the past projects can be found here.
A presentation is made by footsoldiers and TASA representatives on or around the day of the game. A bunch of Scottish football fans, all kilted up, going in to make a presentation can make quite an impact for the children and, indeed, for the hard-worked staff too. They really appreciate the personal touch of tartan bedecked fans entertaining them! And a blast on the doodlesac from the piper(s) goes down a treat too.
The Sunshine Appeal was put together by people using their initiative. Just Scottish football supporters, proud of their country and doing it because they want to. It’s pure passion – just as Scottish football should be.
Information about the Sunshine Appeal will continue to be posted on the Tartan Army Message Board along with this website and the Sunshine Appeal’s Facebook page.
Everywhere We Go!