Project GEM's Third Annual Fundraising Dinner in Massachusetts

Wayland, MA: Project GEM (Girls’ Education Matters), a volunteer group working with Oxfam America to promote girls’ education in developing countries, held its third annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, December 14 at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, Massachusetts.

Despite the first major snowstorm of the season, the sold-out event drew more than 150 participants and raised over $70,000 to support girls’ schools in Pakistan.

So far, Project GEM has helped over 9,000 girls to get better education. Last year the group raised funds to build a girls’ school in Somalia. Since its inception in 2010, Project GEM has raised over $400,000.

The evening’s keynote speaker was Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the only American woman to be elected to the offices of Governor and US Senator. She shared her personal story of the importance of public education, and talked about teaching in the Mississippi school system after desegregation. She also mentioned her role, and that of the US government in promoting female education around the globe. She highlighted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s education initiative, which is continuing under Secretary Kerry.

Governor Deval Patrick, who spoke at last year’s dinner, had planned to attend but had to travel on short notice. He provided a moving video sharing his personal experience and the importance of educational opportunity, as well as strong women, in his life.

Project GEM’s Mohamad Ali updated the audience on the group’s accomplishments, including the school in Somalia which was inaugurated by the town’s mayor in early December.

Other distinguished guests included former US Congressman Chester Atkins, NPR reporter Asma Khalid, author Jessica Stern, Invisalign founder Zia Chishti, WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz and several Oxfam America board members.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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