FREEDOM NOW!

Concert Series
The Guria FREEDOM NOW! concert series took place in London and Cambridge during July 2010. The main aim of these events was to raise awareness for Guria and for the issue they are fighting against – human trafficking and child prostitution. The concerts were very successful in achieving this as well as raising much needed funding for Guria. There were brilliant performances from renowned classical musicians, including sarode maestro, Aashish Khan. Friday July 9th A concert was held at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in West Kensington with world famous sarode player Aashish Khan, along with Amie Maciszewski (sitar) and Nicolas Magriel (sarangi) all accompanied by Yousuf Ali Khan on tabla.

Sarode maestro, Aashish Khan, and Shaqil Khan (tanpura)

Amie Maciszewski on sitar with Yousuf Ali Khan on tabla.

This concert was attended by over 200 people and through ticket sales and donations we raised £3,205 for Guria. It was attended by Zee TV, largest Asian channel in the UK, with a reach of over 500 million viewers worldwide, who interviewed the artists and event organiser, Sarah Wraight. The awareness campaign in the lead up to the concert included Radio, Newspaper and Internet coverage. Coverage on Resonance FM included a programme with music from Aashish Khan and an interview with Sarah to explain what Guria do in India and the aims of the event in the UK. The concert was listed in the press and an article was published in the newspapers - Eastern Eye, London Bangla, Bangla Post and Islington Gazette, which have a combined weekly circulation of over 80,000 copies. The event was publicised through an internet campaign, including promotion through around 30 websites.

Sunday July 11th Aashish Khan performed at the Cambridge ‘Heart of the World’ music festival, accompanied by Yousuf Ali Khan (tabla) and Amie Maciszewski (tanpura.) This performance was attended by 50 – 100 people. Awareness was raised through an introduction and exit talk about Guria and distributing leaflets. It was covered by various Asian TV channels, including ATN Bangla.

Aashish Khan (sarode) & Amie Maciszewski (tanpura)

Talking about Guria at the Asian Mela stage

Tuesday July 20th The cultural wing of the Indian embassy, the Nehru centre, hosted a performance from Amie Maciszewski on sitar, accompanied by Yousuf Ali Khan on tabla and Louise Elliott playing tenor sax & flute. The ensemble played a fascinating fusion of Hindustani music with jazz. The event began by screening a short (15 minute) film about Guria directed and produced by Amie Maciszewski and Ms Mars, which highlights the amazing work Guria do including undercover filming of a brothel raid, their education centres and innovative programme of helping marginalised people to use traditional music and dance as an alternative to working in red light areas. It was attended by around 80 people, and was a great success with many people fascinated and interested in both Indo- jazz fusion and the work Guria do.
Yousuf Ali Khan (tabla), Louise Elliot (flute) & Amie Maciszewski (sitar)

Thank-you! These concerts could not have gone ahead without the support of all those people who helped through their generous donations and those who gave their time, skills, hard work and dedication. We would like to say a huge thank-you to this long list of people. And a special thanks to Sama Arts Network, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the Nehru centre, Ms Maria Stahl and the talented performers: Maestro Aashish Khan, Amie Maciszewski, Nicolas Magriel & Yousuf Ali Khan.

Charity founder & Director, Ajeet Singh, with kids at the Guria education centre Charity Co-director, Manju Singh, with daughter Barish

About Guria Guria’s mission is to liberate and empower women in prostitution and eliminate child prostitution. They pursue a holistic, grassroots approach working directly with the women and children affected to provide education, healthcare and protection. They are experts in their field with 17 years of experience in combating human trafficking in northern India. They have succeeded in making Varanasi the only city in India with a child prostitute free red light area. They have earned widespread support and work both with the Indian government and with international organisations including UN, Asian Human Rights Commission, Frontline, Geneva Global and Action Aid. Guria was founded in 1993 by Ajeet Singh who is now the charity Director. In May 2010 Ajeet was one of only five people in the world nominated for the annual Frontline Human Rights Defenders at Risk Award, given to those who have made outstanding contributions to human rights at great personal risk. Guria is a charity registered in India. No. 620/93-94. For more information see: www.guriaindia.org or www.guria-uk.org. Contact sarahwraight@guria-uk.org