“This fundraiser raised the bar. The plays with the extraordinary acting playing out scenes from Palestine brought the Palestinian cause to life here in Sydney. Everyone cried. Everyone understood. Even non-Arabs. And if you can do that, move people from all around the world regarding the Palestinian cause, I think you’ve won”, explains a guest at The Palestinian Fundraiser Dinner held on Saturday 19 June 2021.

Hundreds gather to show their support for Palestine. Photo credit: @photosbyjocelynandjuelliet

“At one point, there was no dry eye in the room”, states another guest at the event to Lara, the organiser of the event.

Lara Hawwash, 28, a longtime human rights activist, women empowerment leader, event planner, social influencer, and mum of two, has always supported fundraisers, shared in them and planned them.

Lara Hawwash, organiser and host of The Palestinian Fundraiser Dinner. Photo credit: @photosbyjocelynandjuelliet

This year, with the help of Fatema from Mystic events and Lina from Prop Party Hire, The Palestinian Fundraiser Dinner was held on Saturday 19 June at the Holiday Inn, Warwick Farm, South West Sydney.

The event brought together almost 300 people from different backgrounds in Sydney and raised a staggering $25000, which was transferred to Palestine through reputable organisations in Australia: Ausrelief and Kawafel Al Khair.

The money transferred through the latter was used to build tanks to provide clean water for people affected in Palestine. More than sixty businesses came together hand in hand and sponsored this event by either offering their products or services nil of charge.

A play simulating the Palestinian Lifestyle

The variation in the dinner’s program was probably what set this event from others. In addition to being touching and serving the event’s cause in raising both money and awareness, the feedback Lara received definitely confirmed the fact that guests enjoyed their time.

The program included speeches by special guests like, the ambassador of the State of Palestine and Head of Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand, Mr Izzat Salah Abdulhadi, Dalya Ayoub, Walla Abueid, Muna Saker, and ofcourse the event planner herself, Lara Hawwash.

But perhaps the highlight of the dinner was the act. Organized by Zee Hawshar and Ms Haragli, and including around 15 participants aged between 5 and 50, who all showed remarkable acting and singing skills, the act brought most of the crowd to tears.

A simulation of the slaughter of Palestinian babies. Photography Credit: @photosbyjocelynandjuelliet

A videographer recording the play states, “I knew it was an act and I tried my best to hold my tears back while recording it, but I couldn’t help it. It’s like you could feel the pain of Palestine, right there, right then”.

Poems were also recited, songs were sung, and an auction was held. Another awesome play by Jamal Elyan and Saleh Saqqaf was also acted out. Guests left the dinner feeling “Allah’s Barakah” (God’s Grace) in having given something to serve the Palestinian  cause and their faith, either financially or emotionally.

When asked what inspired her to hold this event, Lara explains, “The reason I organised this event was to raise as much money to support our brothers and sisters in Palestine and also to raise awareness in everyone. My Message to the world is to understand that even after many ceasefires Palestinians are still facing an apartheid state, still forcibly kicked out of their homes. Youth and children are being arrested for no reason”.

“Israel is trying to silence us by bombing a news building in Gaza, by taking down posts talking about the issues Palestines face. My message to them is we will always speak out against their crimes until the day they are free. So free free Palestine!” Lara concludes.