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Australian Arts, Live Music & Community Events act for Afghanistan

POSTED

1 Sep 2021

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The Australian live music industry stepped up to the plate when bushfires ravaged the country over the summer of 2019/2020, staging the spectacular fundraising benefit Fire Fight Australia which saw all profits go to National Bushfire Relief.

The arts, public and live event industries all over the world have routinely taken it upon themselves to come together, raise funds and provide much-needed aid to communities during times of natural disasters, famine, and war.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many feel that the Australian Government has let down the arts and live event industries during their own hours of need. But COVID-19 isn’t going to stop groups of compassionate Australians putting their hands up to help people in need in Afghanistan.

Following the complete withdrawal of US and allied military forces from Afghanistan over the past few weeks as the Taliban have retaken control of the country, musicians have been silenced, women fear for their basic rights, and heartbreaking scenes of sheer desperation have circulated the globe on a daily basis.

In response to the humanitarian crisis, Isol-Aid Festival has announced a special live steam event for this Thursday 2 September in support of #actionforafghanistan. Australian Musicians for Afghanistan will feature more than 20+ live sets between 2.50pm – 11.00pm, which can be viewed live on isolaidfestival.com or via the Instagram pages of the various artists. Rather than needing a ticket to plug-in, viewers are asked to make a voluntary donation to the online ‘Mahboba’s Promise’ Afghan Relief fund.

Mahboba’s Promise was founded by Mahboba Rawi, an Afghan refugee who is now an Australian citizen, an organisation who have been helping vulnerable people in Afghanistan for over 25 years. Donations will help the organisation provide emergency shelter, food, water, medical and hygiene essentials on the ground in Afghanistan, and assist their efforts to relocate people from Kabul to safer regions elsewhere.

A group of student philanthropists from Monash University have also raised more than $30,000 for Mahboba’s Promise through their Camp 4 Afghanistan lockdown campaign. The event saw participants camping in their own backyards, in their living rooms or on their balconies, to stand in solidarity with displaced families in Afghanistan. Due to the success of the event, the group are urging all Australian households to take part in a second Camp 4 Afghanistan night, scheduled for September 10.

Artist Ben Quilty, who was once a war artist in Afghanistan himself, has also been busy raising funds for UNHCR to provide shelter and psychological support, water, financial advice, and protection on the ground in Kabul. His online fundraiser has already raised over $1.5 million itself, and has prompted major additional pledges from Australian billionaires with Annie and Mike Cannon-Brookes, Scott Farquahar and Kim Jackson, and Karen Wilson of the Wilson Foundation each donating $1 million too.

Quilty’s initiative has sparked many other Australian artists including Angus McDonald, Peter Drew and Tony Albert to join him in his philanthropic efforts, auctioning artworks online via social media to contribute to the cause.

Global self-service ticketing platform Eventbrite currently displays dozens of other community fundraising events across Australia in support of Afghanistan, and a flurry of GoFundMe pages have also been set-up online to fundraise for various humanitarian aid efforts.

Feature Photo: Mohammad Rahmani

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