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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shahid Afridi goes on USA fundraising tour for charity

Pakistan's 2011 World Cup captain Shahid Afridi will embark on a three-day, three-city fundraising tour this week for Islamic Relief USA. The first “Building for the Future” dinner will take place tonight May 18 in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Wash., before Afridi moves on to Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday May 19. The final dinner will be held on Friday May 20 in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, Texas.
“We wanted to target specifically our Pakistani community and in order to do that there’s various ways,” said Daud Mohmand, Special Events Manager at Islamic Relief USA. “You’ve gotta bring some sort of celebrity and what better celebrity to bring from Pakistan besides the cricket players.” According to Mohmand, this will be the fifth year that a tour of Building for the Future dinners has been organized across the USA involving Pakistani cricketers.
In February 2008, Afridi made a six-city tour – San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Dallas and Secaucus, New Jersey – of “Building for the Future” dinners in the USA which helped raise $1.2 million dollars in aid for relief projects. Much of the money went to help people affected by floods in the Balochistan province of Pakistan.
“When we get into the fundraising aspect, the way we do it at Islamic Relief, we show people the projects that we’re doing and then we ask people to contribute to those projects,” said Mohmand. “People raise their hands, they write a check or fill out a credit card form for us and from that, or they provide pledges, that’s where most of our money is gained. The other item that we do in the end, because we have one of the largest one-to-one sponsorship services, as a donor you can sponsor an orphan. We also do that and then the last item, the fun portion if you will of our event, we have usually that particular athlete’s jersey, a bat or a ball, caps as well for him to sign and we also auction those off.”
Mohmand says that on average, 500 people typically attend the dinners but when Afridi came in 2008, the turnout swelled to between 700 and 800 in Los Angeles and Dallas. Tickets are $35 for the dinner in Bellevue, $40 for the dinner in Texas and $40 if purchased beforehand in Anaheim or else $45 at the door. Also featured to appear with Afridi on the event listing is Pakistani poet Alamgir.
Mohmand says that Afridi has been helpful not just in raising funds in the USA, but also in visiting the areas receiving the aid in Pakistan in order to help projects on site.

“He had also helped and assisted us in Pakistan as well,” said Mohmand. “He has visited our field projects. He went to our beneficiary in Pakistan and seen the projects and has even had press conferences about what we do and who we are and kind of given his support to Islamic Relief in the States as well as overseas.”
“What we do is not just the emergency relief, but it’s also for the development work we do. Just because an emergency or a flood or another natural disaster has passed, that doesn’t mean the people still don’t need any help. So we have various projects, ongoing projects, making sure there is redevelopment of those areas. If the schools have been washed away or people are living in tents or they’re displaced, we assist with that as well as providing the basic necessities, meals and shelter.”
Afridi and Younis Khan were also involved in a series of “Building for the Future” dinners across the UK in 2009. The two cricketers embarked on a five-city fundraising tour in August that year that took them to Birmingham, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Leicester.
Aside from projects in Pakistan, Islamic Relief has also aided in numerous other projects recently including earthquake relief in Haiti, humanitarian support in Libya and tornado disaster relief efforts in Alabama.
Ismlamic Relief is a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in the UK in 1984 by Dr. Hany El Banna. Currently, there are fundraising offices for Islamic Relief located in 15 countries. Islamic Relief USA was started in 1993 and has offices in New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, California and a headquarters in Alexandria, Va. For more information about the “Building for the Future” fundraising dinners with Shahid Afridi and Alamgir, visit or call818-450-7561. 
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