October 05, 2009

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — A Bucknell University student group will host a fundraiser for Afghan children Saturday, Oct. 17, at 5 p.m. in Larison Dining Hall at Bucknell. Tickets are $25 per person.

"The event, hosted by the South Asian Students Association, will include several different types of Afghan appetizers, a 15-minute documentary focusing on Afghan women entrepreneurs, and a short presentation about the lives of regular Afghan people," said student organizer Palwasha Siddiqi.

"Funds raised will go to the organization Kochah, assisting children of single mothers in Afghanistan with education as well as food and clothing," she said.

Attendance is limited to 200 tickets, which are available in advance from the Market Street Deli in Lewisburg, or from Siddiqi by calling 914-414-9162. A limited number of tickets may be available at the door.

Internship contributions
Siddiqi, a senior majoring in management, is a native of Afghanistan. She interned this summer at Prudential in Newark, N.J., where she held a similar fundraiser with a documentary and presentation to the advertising agency there.

According to Siddiqi, most Afghan single mothers are illiterate so children often work for the family. "Funds raised at the Oct. 17 event will go to compensate the salary of the children, sometimes equivalent to $50 per month, which allows the family to be fed so the child can go to school," she said.

Siddiqi also is part of the documentary about Afghan women entrepreneurs that will be shown at the fundraiser. Filmed in 2005, the film includes her experience with Bpeace (Business Council for Peace), a nonprofit international network of business professionals who volunteer to help women entrepreneurs in countries emerging from war to expand their businesses, create employment and build a more peaceful future for their communities.

The youngest member in the Bpeace group, Siddiqi's Bpeace host mother encouraged her to apply to Bucknell. Following graduation in May, she hopes to continue her education with a master's degree before returning to Afghanistan to open an orphanage.

She also plans to return home this December to meet with children who will benefit from the fundraiser. "People who attend the Oct. 17 event can give me their e-mail addresses, and I will provide updates on the children their generosity has helped," she said. "And there's a tentative plan for a second fundraiser in the spring semester."

Kochah organization
is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality assistance and creating education opportunities for underprivileged children. The organization was founded by singer-songwriter, human rights activist and Goodwill Ambassador Farhad Darya in 2007. Kochah's overall mission is to promote opportunities and living conditions of children regardless of their ethnicity, group, language, religion or gender.

The event is co-sponsored by several academic departments at Bucknell, including the offices of the President, International Student Services, Multicultural Student Services, International Education, Enrollment Management, Hillel, the Women's Resource Center and the School of Management.

Contact: Division of Communications



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