What is Jailbreak and why are we taking part?

Students Amy Worrall and Fátimah Alaya are about to head off on an adventure

What is Jailbreak?

Jailbreak is Ireland's largest student-run fundraiser, now in its 7th year running. All proceeds of the charity event are split between Amnesty International and Saint Vincent de Paul.

During Jailbreak, students in teams of two have thirty-six hours to escape the starting point in Dublin and race toward ‘Location X,’ which is revealed over the course of the competition with the help of several clues. However, teams may not spend any of their own money in order to reach the destination.

During the competition teams raise the profile of the two charities in a competition against other teams for one of two honourable goals: 1) Get to Location X first or 2) Raise the most money.


Everyone knows about St. Vincent de Paul, they are one of the best regarded charities in Ireland, and have been working to reduce social deprivation since 1884. They take a practical approach to dealing with poverty, supporting families and individuals, through face to face contact as a means of making a difference. The SVdP's organisational spirit is dependent on a non-judgemental attitude towards those who have fallen on hard times and supports self-sufficiency and enabling people to help themselves.

Amnesty International Ireland campaign for human rights through various campaigns such as the Stop Torture campaign, IWelcome campaign, or the campaign against LGBTI Discrimination. Of particular importance to the current migrant emergency, SOS Europe is Amnesty International's campaign for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe and at its borders, which continues to do great work and advocate for those in need.

The first Jailbreak was set up in 2013 by a number of student societies in Trinity College Dublin. Since then, Jailbreak has grown exponentially, involving numerous colleges across Ireland and seeing a massive increase in the number of teams participating. Jailbreak has raised over €285,000 for the two charities since its start in 2013, and now involves students from more than ten third-level institutions.

In the first year the winning team, a duo from Trinity College Dublin, managed to get to Buenos Aires in Argentina. Though, while safe in the knowledge of having won the competition, they were stranded in Buenos Aires, so good man Chris de Burgh (who was born in Argentina) flew them home! Other teams made it to the Vatican, or to Father Ted's house, and other didn't get far outside of Dublin - but they all had fun.

While the format of the competition has changed a little since 2013, the excitement and thrill of the race, combined with the end goal of raising more than €50,000 for two amazing charities makes it a worthwhile venture.

So who are we?

We are Team 37: Helping People Out. A combination team made up of Amy Worrall and Fátimah Alaya. We're both studying medicine; Amy in Trinity College Dublin and Fátimah in The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland.

Fátimah is two years in to her medical degree in RCSI, and is a part-time midwife too - helping people out (quite literally). Amy previously did science, and now in final year medicine is only a few weeks out from her final clinical exams (but adventure and philanthropy comes first right?). All going well she'll be a junior doctor in July.

So why are we getting involved?

Well, you’re only in college for as long as you’re in college. You need to jump on opportunities to get involved in sports, societies and charity ventures. Both of us have a long history of being involved in societies and fundraising, so it’s not a new thing for us to get out shaking a bucket for a good cause.

We also both come from very giving households, where generosity, charity and kindness is the standard way. Jailbreak is a lovely combination of giving locally to St Vincent de Paul, but also giving internationally through Amnesty. That sense of giving is one of the biggest drivers for both of us on this Jailbreak journey.

Of course, part of the drive is also the excitement (and competition) in a race against your peers across Europe. The fact that you have to do it for free adds to that - it’s about persuasion, haggling and charm (which we both have in great bounty!).

It’s also something that is hugely memorable, in the balance of all things that happen during your time in college - Jailbreak is probably one of the more outstanding ones, rather than a weekend spent in the library, or sleeping! Sometimes, it’s worth putting yourself out there, being a little uncomfortable, and just going for it - so that’s what we’re doing.

Jailbreak is taking place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February and Team 37: Helping People Out is looking for your support in their mad charity venture across Europe.

Donate here: jailbreakrace.com/team/team-37-helping-people-out/

You can follow our adventures on instagram: @helpingpploutJB2019

You can find out more about Jailbreak here at jailbreakrace.com