The Maleny Unit has finished several busy weeks of fundraising to support AMURT begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting relief work in Burma.
Using the concept of “multiple revenue streams” the unit collectively planned and carried several different projects that all were very successful — and involved a large group of us, each person sharing their unique skills.
The first fundraiser was held at the Ananda Marga River School. We celebrated Baba’s birthday on the same day. On that day each of the seven primary classes dressed in a different color of the rainbow. So after a beautiful short video and talk about Baba, the children walked out to the school oval singing and formed a rainbow. Dada lead everyone in a beautiful meditation, sending love and light to the people affected by the cyclone. Then, as the children sang “May the love we’re sharing spread its wings,” each child walked by the “pot of gold at the end of rainbow” and dropped in a gold coin. It was a beautiful event — and raised $250!
Our next event was also organised through the school. Parents offered to bake and help with a bake sale we held on the main street of town on a Saturday. The sale was well-organised and, along with spreading love and publicity about Burma relief work, raised $750!
Meanwhile we also had a raffle going, with three sumptuous spa treatments to be won. We sold raffle tickets at the bake sale. (“Buy $5 worth of baked goods, get a free raffle ticket!” was a good strategy.) We also opened a donation bank account at the local credit union, that we mentioned in our press releases, and people began sending in donations.
But the biggest event of all was our fundraising concert and dinner: Burma Relief Now! With a lot of hard work, and the help of a school parent who is a professional events organiser, we were able to find two big well-known bands who agreed to play for free for our concert. One band is from the Gold Coast, the other from Brisbane. We were so delighted when they agreed to play! We found out just as a busload of us was driving home from Baba’s Birthday retreat! We slotted in a few other local and Margii performers to round out the evening, and were delighted again when four hard-working acharyas agreed to come and cook on the day, from Gympie and Brisbane.
During the next weeks we really worked hard on publicity with our amazing poster designed by Lokesh, press releases, banners, and street signs. We held weekly meetings to schedule the evening and coordinate our efforts.
On the day of the concert it was raining in torrents, but the acharyas and volunteers cooked all day. Other volunteers decorated the hall beautifully, and by evening, the crowds started to appear while the rain finally stopped. We sold 250 entry tickets, around 100 meals, plus chai and plenty of donated gelati. We also had “limited edition” T-shirts that sold well. Before the bands played, Paunkaj shared his experience working with AMURT in Indonesia and showed a powerpoint presentation on Burma that Giita had made. A local woman from Burma also shared stories from her family and friends about the cyclone.
The evening was an all around success and we felt an outpouring of support from throughout the community in all of our efforts.
All in all we have been able to raise around $6,000. This money will go for AMURT food distribution in the hardest hit areas of Burma and the creation of “Child Friendly Spaces” for orphans and other children at risk. We applaud the amazing efforts of the hard-working volunteers in that very challenging environment.
(written by Kamala)