Barakat held a fundraiser in downtown Boston at Mantra last Thursday evening. The event was a huge success and guests enjoyed Mantra’s French-Indian cuisine while supporting a great cause. The evening featured a silent auction on various items from Karma, a local shop that sells fine imported crafts from Tibet, Nepal, and India. The night also featured a raffle for gift certificates as well as other exciting prizes.
David Boeri from WBUR’s Radio Boston hosted the evening as master of ceremonies. Barakat’s executive director, Damon Luloff gave a brief introduction about Barakat and then the founders, Chris Walter and Habibullah Karimi, followed with a short description of Barakat’s history and how the organization was started. Mariam Raquib was also a featured speaker. Mariam was forced to flee Pakistan during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. While living in Pakistan, she met Afghans living in refugee camps, and this experience profoundly shaped her views about the importance of human rights and the rights of children to receive an education.
South Asian dance groups provided the entertainment for the evening. Students from Burlington High School performed a combination of three Bollywood songs combining hip-hop and traditional dance. Tibetan musicians sang next, followed by Dance Philippines, a nonprofit organization composed of professional Filipino-American volunteers to bring attention to the Philippine culture through music and dance. Boston College Masti, a dance troupe of the South Asian Students Association at Boston College combined traditional Indian and fusion music in an inspiring routine. Northeastern University’s Kinematics and a Tibetan masked dance were also among the fabulous performances that brought attention to South Asian culture.
Without Phuni Meston of Karma Imported crafts, this event would not have been possible. Phuni is from Tibet and had been relocated as a young girl to Southern India where she was a victim of human trafficking and was eventually brought to the United States. In 1995 Phuni was one of the Tibetan delegates who participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing advocating for social justice and Tibetan women’s rights. She continues to speak publicly about her experiences to create awareness and work towards ending human trafficking.
Barakat’s event at Mantra raised over $5000 for literacy programs in South Asia!