BAHAR: Spring in Afghanistan! SPRING FUNDRAISING EVENT IN CALIFORNIA RAISES MONEY FOR EDUCATION CENTER AND RELIEF PROGRAMS IN AFGHANISTAN
The annual ARO fundraising event March 6 in Southern California raised a total of $22,000, which goes to operational costs at the Technical Education Center (TEC) and relief distribution efforts in Afghanistan.
Close to 500 people attended Bahar—which is Farsi for “Spring”—chosen as the event’s theme to signify not only the time of year ARO’s US relief volunteers travel to Afghanistan, but also the symbolic “new growth” within the country. The event was held at the Pacific Hills Banquet Hall in Laguna Hills, California, whose owners graciously donated the event center for the annual fundraiser.
The Afghan and American crowd was treated to songs of the popular Afghan musician Vaheed Kaacemy, who traveled from Toronto, Canada to perform for ARO. Kaacemy was joined by Afghan musicians from the San Francisco area.
Also entertaining the crowd, were the brother and sister dohl drum group, Dohlnation. A traditional part of Indian celebrations, the dohl drummers were joined by an Indian competitive dance troop who provided a “Bollywood” style floor show. Assisting all the performers, with event music and sound system expertise, was DJ Mast from San Diego.
Along with feasting on Afghan dishes of chicken and rice, hot tea and baklava for dessert—the delicious baklava donated by Walter’s Restaurant and Kabul West—guests enjoyed edible centerpieces with delicious cookies donated by the Donna B’s Bakery Boutique, famous for its gourmet cookie baskets. A lucky guest at each table found the winning ticket that allowed them to take home the cookie centerpiece, wrapped up in a colorful silk bags!
ARO also was able to showcase and sell items made by students in vocational programs at the Kabul education center, including handcrafted traditional Afghan dresses with decorative embroidery and coins, silver and lapis jewelry, and other items handcrafted in Afghanistan.
The annual fundraising event was chaired for the second year in a row by ARO volunteer, Mariam Omar, from San Diego, and was assisted by many ARO volunteers who put in countless hours to create an enjoyable event at minimal cost to ARO. Along with the donation of the Pacific Hills Banquet Hall, ARO volunteers obtained donations of food, door prizes, and other items, in order to maximize funds raised for relief work. ARO thanks the contributors and volunteers for their generosity and dedication! See you next Bahar!