Human Appeal International Australia marked its 25th anniversary by organising a Family Day Out for community members followed by a Gala Dinner for invited guests on Sunday 27 November at Waterview Bicentennial Park within the Sydney Olympic Park.
International performers, comedians and nasheed singers entertained more than 2000 members of the public that also included surprise performances by Australian sponsored orphans from Sudan and Jordan.
Overseas guests included public speaker Yusuf Estes from USA, English nasheed singer Khaled Siddiq from UK, Arabic nasheed singer Abdulfattah Owainat from Jordan and stand-up comedian Mo Amer from USA.
The highlight of the evening was the introduction and performance by Asoar Adam from Khartoum, Sudan who was sponsored under the Human Appeal orphan sponsorship program at the age of 6. Now a young woman pursuing her studies as a medical student in Sudan, Asour met her sponsors on stage, exchanged gifts and read a moving poem (Qaseeda) that brought tears to the audience.
Another two sponsored orphans flown in from Jordan, Mohammad, 14 and Ibrahim 9 performed a nasheed together on stage and said how happy they were to visit Australia, the country of their sponsors.
Bashar Al-Jamal, the Director of Human Appeal International Australia, during his welcome speech highlighted the great achievements of HAIA since its foundation in 1991 and raising of 126 million during the last 25 years from Australian donors to help the needy in all parts of the world.
The 25th anniversary program was managed by the Master of Ceremony duo, Ms Tasnim Saeid and Mr Omar Al-Jamal and commenced with the recitation of Quran by Sheikh Khaled Zreika.
The acknowledgement of traditional owners of the land was given by Mr Graham Davis King together with a performance on Didgeridoo, an indigenous Australian musical instrument, followed by the national anthem.
There were a number of video presentations with a time line of 25 years that highlighting the great achievements of HAIA as well as testimonials by a variety of community leaders from all over Australia and all walks of life regarding their appreciation of services rendered by Human Appeal.
Local speakers included Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the Grand Mufti of Australia as well as Mr Jihad Dib, the state member of Parliament for Lakemba and Shadow Minster for Education.
Mr Dib who arrived as a young child with his parents in Australia during the early seventies, highly commended HAIA as a success story in building Muslim service institutions in Australia. He gave his example that Muslims in Australia have the potential to be high achievers in serving our nation as well as helping out to the unfortunate ones overseas.
Maghreb prayer in congregation led by the Mufti was offered in between the program on the outside lawn area followed by a well catered dinner.
An exhibition of images was organised for the guests highlighting the services rendered by HAIA globally with sustained aid projects helping all humanity irrespective of their faith, colour or geographical location.
In addition to being an aid organisation, HAI has initiated a number of unique projects including Sounds of Light festivals on an yearly basis, HSC high achievers awards, Aspiring Leaders Umrah Program, bushfire relief efforts and the Human Appeal Living & Giving store.