The Last Stretch – Chapter 2: Continuance of…

It’s only the 2nd week, but I’d say a lot has transpired.

College

Where should I begin? Probably the most hectic thing that every happened. It took two weeks for other students and myself to coordinate and organize a fundraising charity iftar for the Pakistan flood victims. Projector and screens, and then the caterers coming in to setup. Let me tell you this….we probably advertised it too much that we ended up with people hounding us for tickets to the iftar. I guess the B&B Syndicate did a great job in getting the word out. What puzzles me is how did we even cope with it. Anyone who came to ask for a ticket, I said, “Come to the day of the event”. People from companies like KPMG even called me to reserve tickets, but Abdalla got the most calls. Don’t even get me started ont eh emails I got, as I queued up at-least 50 when I sent out an email – all this in one hour on a Sunday.

The day arrives…Poor Abdalla, he had all of them and I had to send that large riot-like mob of people to him as all of them scrambled to get one ticket even though the amount of food to be served was far less than the tickets being sold. At least we did inform people that they can still support us by donating. I even had a video made with source material from CNN.com, and that sent chills, shivers, and hopefully tears into the people who saw it (Watch it right here). I’m sure that you’ll see the plight of millions made homeless. By the end of the event, a momentous applause celebrated the achievement that we had set out –  a staggering QR 74,000 ($20,000) was the total tally of money raised by donations and iftar ticket sales. Keep in mind that this was all done by students. Qatar Charity will be taking care of the distribution.

Chris Anderson's Posterous blog

What happened after that really shook my head. I saw a post by TED curator Chris Anderson, where he decided to dedicate his Posterous blog for two weeks to support the Pakistani flood victims. Even though he said that you can share what you’re doing about the relief efforts, I thought it would be worth the try to see if they would take the story of an student-organized fund raiser.

What I got out of it was quite a shock – just look to the picture. WOWWWW! I immediately scrambled to write up a short story, from our initial work leading upto the penultimate culmination of or work, and the amount we raised – $20,000 to help those in need.

Luckily, I wrote it up and sent it the very next day. Here’s hoping that they put it up :).

Just seeing that reply sent a big shock into my head, and it proved to be an honor for us to share our story of how we made a difference. It kind of goes along the lines of what TED does, “Ideas Worth Spreading” but we spread our charitable giving

Just go to his blog and see what else unfolds.

I almost forgot to say that we’re in the last stretch of Ramadan already. I think this year it flew by fast and I didn’t even notice it. I’m counting down the days till my parents return, as I cooked before classes began (mother’s cooking is always filling). In addition, one of my good friends Wishwesh (works at KPMG but he wasn’t one of those who came for the iftar – he’s pure vegetarian!) moved into the building right across the. Atleast I no longer have to drive to his previous place to pick him up. We can spend time together downstairs nearby.

TEDxDoha

In 2 days, 150 tickets have been snapped up – 50 on the first release on Thursday 26th August, and then on Monday 30th August. Talk about the hype and the interest. Seems like we’re going to be hosting the best TEDx event across the Middle East. Still, each TEDx is special in its own way. I’ve been inundated with requests for tickets, but I just divert them to the website and then Twitter and Facebook. Get them while they are hot, as they are publicized. Already, the Facebook fan page has reach 375 people and Twitter is doing a great job keeping it up.

It’s also part of TED and TEDx that the audience is curated, so that it sparks discussion and insight from the attendees. I’m sure those who grabbed the first 2 batches of seats are devotees and hardcore TED followers. We’re only around 2 months away from the actual event, and I’m sure it’s going to be bigger and “larger than life”.

I almost forgot….we also announced our first speaker – acclaimed and renowned fashion designer Reem Acra. She has dressed up celebs like Angelina Jolie and Beyonce, all from her New York store. Head over to the fan page to learn more about her (there’s even a video for your enjoyment). If you want more, all I can say is that you’ll have to stay tuned for more speakers to be announced – all on Twitter and Facebook.

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That’s it for now. See you next time!

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