How the Estonian design company helped to launch an international humanitarian foundation Bring Hope
How an unexpected call to a design studio led to the launch of an international humanitarian foundation Bring Hope which has helped over 700,000 war refugees in the last two years.
Bring Hope is a unique and transparent humanitarian foundation. It has undergone extensive growth over the last few years while helping more than 700,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the Kurdistan region. The amount of humanitarian aid delivered exceeds USD 80 million (medical equipment, drugs, clothes, hygiene products, food and even football pitches). Everything started from zero.
The founder of Bring Hope, Dr. Mariwan Baker, is himself a former refugee who fled the war in Iraq in the 1990s through Russia and Estonia all the way to Sweden. Thanks to his amazing inner drive and willpower, Dr. Baker made his way to being a well-recognised doctor, gaining a PhD in Sweden and Denmark and also becoming a successful international entrepreneur. His story is quite simply astonishing.
A small but noticeable contribution to Bring Hope’s success was also made by Bit Finer, an Estonian design studio which was pulled into this amazing journey out of the blue. This story is told through the eyes of Lauri, founder of the Bit Finer design studio, who had the chance to become part of Bring Hope’s incredible journey from day one. The story is both a milestone and a testimony to collaboration, which is the key to opening unknown doors. Read on.
Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation attending a sponsored event: Alan Ball’s gala dinner in Liverpool together with Bit Finer Design Studio.
Spam or for real?
Bring Hope’s collaboration with the Estonian design agency started with an unexpected phone call from Dr. Baker in the spring of 2015.
“Seeing that the call was from Sweden, I first thought it was one of our Swedish clients, but no,” Lauri recalls. “I heard words such as ‘Iraq’, ‘refugee’ and my first thought was whether it was a spam call or something. But after a minute or two I understood Dr. Baker’s message and was quite excited, but still a little sceptical. We arranged a meeting in Tallinn.”
Two weeks after the phone call, Dr. Baker flew in from Copenhagen to Tallinn and an important three-hour meeting was held. The Bit Finer design studio was given a very important task - to build the brand messaging and digital face of the soon-to-be-founded organisation, Bring Hope. There was a single goal - to tailor the message to the target audience and make it compelling, so that people would help the foundation with the least effort possible. Automation was needed for scaling.
Networking and thousands of miles
The brand messaging and the first tailored design for Bring Hope’s website can be termed quite a success. Bring Hope took their digital face and started to network on a large scale, travelling thousands of miles worldwide and pitching non-stop. Something new was and is still being accomplished every day and. The people who experienced Bring Hope’s story were convinced and the organisation gained numerous partners and volunteers. And all this is not to mention the generous donations for the people in need.
Dr. Baker presented Bring Hope’s story even in the European Parliament, Brussels. The growth curve of the organisation took the shape of a hockey stick and it soon opened its doors in Sweden, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Lesotho.
“Bring Hope’s digital face was attractive and authoritative,” says Lauri. “But of course we understand that the designed message and the user experience are just tools. What really worked was Dr. Baker’s skills in delivering the message to the right people. The two together made a good match.”
Help the people on the ground - no migration!
Bring Hope grew into an international humanitarian organisation, due to many factors. Needless to say, the most important benefit was the fact that hundreds of thousands of people received aid locally. Many lives were saved. In fact, there are more than 2 million refugees with 700,000 children among them in Kurdistan refugee camps.
This is what makes this story so powerful. A little effort in design, a clear message to a targeted audience and fuelling an inner drive can change the world. A single person can do more than many combined. But the key here is collaboration.
It must be said that Bring Hope’s success was amplified due to the solid statement that people should receive help locally, in their home country. Migration to EU countries is not what people really want or need. Their lives, dreams and hopes are shattered, but they still want their home to stay where it is. They want to start again, as simple as that. They need a chance!
Repeating the cycle - a design facelift for the organisation
As many know, persistence can often beat knowledge, but what if you combine the two? In 2017 Bring Hope needed to meet the demands and expectations of an international audience. Much had been learned over the past few years and Bit Finer was lucky to receive a new task - to redesign Bring Hope’s digital face and put all the learning into new brand exposure.
“It’s the biggest compliment to re-do something you did years ago, knowing that this time you have many more insights to deliver,” says Lauri.
So the new era for Bring Hope began. Everything was done again from scratch. It was back to the drawing board!
Many days were spent doing research and analysing the insights that had been gathered for the new brand facelift. And significant decisions were made, especially in colour psychology.
Bring Hope went from green to blue for a reason. Bit Finer designed the brand to be a little more modern, more engaging and more humane. “The brand should be pleasing and easy to understand; there’s no need to build a rocketship,” says Lauri.
After months of work in the studio, the new brand together with the website was born, once again. This time, it really felt the right buttons were being pushed, so let’s see what people and data have to say. Bring Hope has received really positive feedback on their new digital face and experience, so everybody is excited to see what 2018 brings.
Word of mouth, still strong
Word of mouth spreads fast and many big entrepreneurs and organisations have partnered with the Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation. Dr. Baker has done an impressive job, and we should take our hats off to him. More than 30 international partners, 25+ team members, all starting from zero and all happening within 2 years! Yet again, most importantly, ~700,000 people have received help, many of them repeatedly. Many of them children and many of them women.
Football, milkpowder and rappers?
What? Word spread to the Campbell family who are now running Bring Hope’s UK’s branch in Liverpool. Former Everton and Arsenal football striker Kevin Campbell and his cousin Thomas Campbell have gone on a mission with Bring Hope.
Football is set to be one of the important long-term projects of Bring Hope, at the same time giving hope to the local people and offering a way out. Talent scouts, watch out for Bring Hope FC!
A documentary that will change the way you …
Bring Hope had gathered a lot of film material and gave Bit Finer the task of creating a short documentary from tens of hours of raw material. The organisation needed to tell the story faster and to drive the message home.
Together with Bring Hope’s team in Dubai, the project began and the documentary was soon aired. It was no easy task and it was very emotional, but all the participants believe the documentary will make it easier to onboard new partners and to heighten the emotion.
The documentary was so important that a representative from Bring Hope flew in from Dubai to Tartu, Estonia, and had an editing marathon together with the Bit Finer design studio. The experience was outstanding and it was good to work with a clear vision. “Bring Hope took care of the storyline with great professionalism,” says Lauri.
What are the first results?
Thanks to Dr. Baker’s high-level skills and well-designed brand, Bring Hope has already made a difference, and not a small one at that. The brand and the message have made their way to many continents and have gained the trust of many partners. International partner companies, governments, politicians, families and volunteers have all contributed to Bring Hope’s success.
Here are Bring Hope’s results summarised:
Bring Hope is today active in Sweden, the UK, the UAE, Iraq and Lesotho and it continues to grow
A total of 110 containers full of medical and humanitarian aid have been sent to people in need.
The total worth of the aid delivered is USD 80 million.
700,000 refugees including children, women and men have received life-changing help
A sewing factory has been built to help local women get back on their feet
Bring Hope has more than 30 partners, some of them even governments
All this has been established in two years, starting from zero
The most important lesson is collaboration. The right set of people and the right attitude can make a huge impact. As you can see, there is no reason to do it on your own. Collaborating and letting others perform using their expertise help you to scale faster and further. Congratulations to Dr. Baker for making it with the Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation.
“It is an honour to work with such amazing people and what is more amazing is that the time we spend in the office, designing and discussing can help other people so much. We love our jobs and continue to help Bring Hope deliver the message with greater precision.” Lauri Post, Bit Finer design studio
“Bit Finer lifted the Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation to the next level by re-designing and developing our website and also editing a professional documentary, which was beyond my expectations. Bit Finer's personnel is creative and professional, and they deliver more than they promise.” Dr. Mariwan Baker, founder of Bring Hope
Information about the film
Read more about the branding and UX/UI design
Producers – Paul Post (Bit Finer), Tarika Vara (Bring Hope)
Video Editing & Production – Franz Krusenberg (Bit Finer)
Voiceover – Tarika Vara (Bring Hope)
Voiceover Sound Engineer – MNK Studios, Dubai
Big thanks to Bring Hope’i team:
Dr. Mariwan Baker
Team Bring Hope
Dr. Michael-John Von Hörsten
Branding and UX/UI design
UX/UI Designer, Illustrator – Lauri Post
Junior UX/UI Designer – Mathias Vain
Branding Intern – Martin Allmaa
Project Management – Paul Post
Animator – Franz Krusenberg
Team Bring Hope – All the help