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ASD Friendship Festival Brings Doha Together
By Lateefa Farah 11-Jul-18
The Friendship Festival has been a part of the American School of Doha (ASD) community for 24 years and continues to embrace its mission of bringing Doha together. ASD Director, Thomas Hawkins, expresses how this special day is a time for communities to meet and mingle. Many of those who attend the Friendship Festival are from the Doha community at large. ASD recently held its annual Friendship Festival celebration, welcoming over 4,000 people from different backgrounds and showcasing the true multicultural state of Qatar. The fun-filled day was a chance for families to bring their children and friends, to enjoy games, prizes, food, and most importantly, fundraising for a cause. Children came to their school with excitement in their eyes, showing their parents where their identities and talents are cherished. Parents had the chance to feel the atmosphere in which their children are growing up. This spirited event is organized by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), a group that is led by parents and teachers who volunteer their time to build community. Lori, Chair of The Friendship Festival states, “without the volunteers, and our teachers being able to help us throughout the planning of the Friendship Festival, it wouldn’t be possible to construct such an event.” The Friendship Festival puts on a wide range of games and activities, as well as offering an array of glorious food stalls for the children and adults to experience. Kids are excited to come and play games, win prizes, and sometimes even dunk a teacher in a tank, while adults are intrigued by the market vendor choices. This year, ASD expanded the range of fun activities into its newest elementary field, which included miniature bouncy castles for the young ones. The Friendship Festival has always embraced and showcased different vendors, whether they be food stations or home-grown businesses. Market vendors, which are stationed in the school’s gym, showcase a broad spectrum of talents. Sheggy, a clothing vendor who participated, states, “I’ve been coming to ASD since 2005, and each year my business becomes more and more successful. Customers like the clothes that I bring here, because these are things you can’t find in Doha.” As ASD Director Thomas Hawkins states, “it’s like coming to a giant Souq.” All the money raised during the Friendship Festival is invested back into the school, to support students’ school projects, facilities, and service trips. Recently, some of the funds raised were put into an organization called Hope for Education and Leadership in Afghanistan (HELA). HELA is a non-profit organization in Afghanistan that devotes its time to teaching Afghan children how to research, debate, and gain leadership skills to be a part of MUN (Model United Nations). Without the help of people willing to come and support this event, projects such as HELA wouldn’t be able to flourish in such a successful way.
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