Kiwi-founded Conqueror Virtual Challenges app raises $250,000USD for Save the Children Ukraine appeal

An international social impact start-up, that gamifies bucket-list fitness challenges and has attracted a worldwide following, has raised more than $360,000 ($250,000USD) for Save the Children's response for children impacted by the Ukraine crisis.

The Conqueror Virtual Challenges mobilised its global community to donate $500,000USD in just one week in support of Ukraine. The proceeds will be split between Save the Children and Red Cross and go towards providing life-saving humanitarian aid. More than 15,000 people signed up in support of its Stand with Ukraine Virtual Challenge Fundraiser.

Save the Children New Zealand Chief Executive Heidi Coetzee says the donation will provide essential humanitarian aid, including food, water, warm clothes, shelter and safe spaces for the millions of children impacted by the crisis.

"The Conqueror Virtual Challenges Community is showing children in Ukraine that they are not alone. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the thousands of people who have taken part in the challenge and to The Conqueror’s Kiwi CEO and co-founder Adam El-Agez and his team.

"When we were first approached by Adam’s team with a $140,000 donation, we were absolutely gobsmacked and didn’t quite believe it was real. Now, many thousands later, we are just so humbled by the kindness and caring shown by this inspiring global community.

"These funds are much needed. As temperatures plummet, children who have been forced from their homes are trekking through the brutal cold, with high winds and snow, carrying whatever they could grab before they fled. At night they are sheltering wherever they can, often exposed to the harshest of elements. Some of these children are completely alone.

"For those staying put as the conflict escalates around them, there is already not enough food to eat, enough clothes to keep them warm, or resources to repair and heat their homes. These are incredibly dangerous conditions for a child to be exposed to."

The Conqueror CEO and co-founder Adam El-Agez says with a big part of the team based in Romania, and bordering Ukraine, they felt compelled to help their neighbours.

"We have an incredible community of more than 150,000 people. Many of them reacted immediately to our call and joined the challenge. The amount raised exceeded our wildest expectations. The organisations we donated to are working around the clock to help individuals and families on the ground."

The 36-mile challenge allowed participants to virtually explore beautiful landmarks of Kyiv in order to honour the city through The Conqueror mobile app. Integrated with Google street View, users advance on a virtual map and are able to see their surroundings as they log distances.

To date, Save the Children New Zealand has raised almost $700,000. Ms Coetzee says they are hoping to raise $1million that will go towards Save the Children’s global response for children in Ukraine.

Save the Children has been operating in Ukraine since 2014, providing humanitarian aid to children and their families. This includes supporting access to education, distributing winter and hygiene kits, and providing cash grants to families. Our specialists support children to overcome the mental and psychological impacts of their experiences of conflict and violence and increase their ability to cope with stress in their daily lives.