Renowned Reggae Artists, Downtown Concert to Build Schools in Cyclone-Ravaged Burma

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pato-banton fundraiser July 18 Smooth’s Sport Grille

Pato Banton

With help from the rhythmic reggae pulse of legendary artist Pato Banton and the band Kua’ana, Within Arms Reach will host its first fundraiser July 18 on the rooftop of Smooth’s Sport Grille in Downtown Long Beach to build schools in cyclone-ravaged Within Arms Reach (Myanmar).

A Pato Banton concert is considered “an event not to be missed and an experience not to be forgotten.” Banton’s musical message is “food for the mind and soul” and his performances, which have been seen around the world, are often considered as live theatre where those listening become willing participants in his upbeat and exciting audience-driven shows.

Hailing from the islands of Hawaii, the group Kua’ana will bring its Hawaiian reggae vibe to Within Arms Reach’s fundraiser. Harmonically transporting the audience back to the islands during their shows, Kua’ana’s island rhythms have been experienced up and down the West Coast at more than 500 concerts.

“Having Pato Banton headline our first fundraiser is incredible and an honor,” said Sundie Zin, president and CEO of Within Arms Reach. “Like Within Arms Reach, Pato began his journey giving back to the communities where he came from before evolving his reach globally with his art. With Pato and Kua’ana on the ticket, the great food and atmosphere of Smooth’s rooftop venue, this should be a wonderful event for everyone there and later for those in Burma who desperately need our help.”

Within Arms Reach is a recently launched non-profit organization that provides humanitarian relief in the form of interior architectural, architectural and industrial design services to disaster-stricken countries.

The non-profit was conceptualized by Zin, who raised funds while she was still an interior design student at Cal State Long Beach in 2008 and again with the organization’s co-founder Roger Sy in 2009 to provide aid to Zin’s home country of Burma after it was pounded by Cyclone Nargis. The storm killed approximately 150,000 people and left nearly two-million homeless.

Zin has embarked on two humanitarian trips to Burma (the second with Sy) in the past two years. During the trips they raised enough money to build six homes for families who lost everything, paid for the digging of three water wells, built a medical clinic, donated funds to a temple orphanage, donated school supplies, distributed medicine provided by Giving Children Hope, passed out clothing and fed many children.

“It was after Cyclone Nargis and our subsequent first trips to Burma that we really discovered our passion to help others,” explained Zin. “After I graduated from the design program at Cal State Long Beach, I decided to use the education I received to benefit others by launching this design-focused non-profit. We were able to accomplish a lot in Burma during our first two trips with all the support we received from our families, friends and the design community. But there is still so much to do.”

Zin continued, “As our organization grows, we will expand our reach to other countries and people who are struggling to rebuild after catastrophic disasters. We will work diligently to ensure our design services are ‘Within Arms Reach’ of those who need us.”

Continuing its collaboration with established organizations, such as Architecture for Humanity (AFH), Within Arms Reach’s will help build self-sustainable, low-cost housing/shelters, schools and products for the communities and people it helps.

The school supplies that were donated during their first trips to Burma were given to a makeshift school set up in a Buddhist temple. This prompted Zin and Sy to put raising funds to build schools at the top of the list.

“I was fortunate. I received a great education when I came from Burma to the U.S.,” said Zin. “The people in Burma now only focus on survival. It is part of their culture. They don’t understand that without education they will continue that cycle of only working to live, but not work to better their lives and country. That’s why we are focusing on building schools right now.”

During its next trip to Burma in November, the non-profit will work with AFH and utilize the funds raised from such events as the one at Smooth’s to build the schools and carry out Within Arms Reach’s mission. The organization’s goal is to raise at least $15,000 by November to build the schools for children along the Irrawaddy River in Burma’s “Delta” region where many of the cyclone victims live.

“We plan to grow this organization with many within the design community—really anyone who can make a difference,” said Zin. “This will be a remarkable journey for us and those involved with Within Arms Reach; a journey of compassion, commitment and resolve.”

The Within Arms Reach concert /fundraiser featuring Pato Banton is July 18, 2010 at 8 p.m. on the rooftop of Smooth’s Sport Grille. Smooth’s is located at 144 Pine Avenue, Long Beach, 90802.

The cost of attending the concert /fundraiser at Smooth’s Sport Grille is $15 a ticket and $20 for VIP tickets, which includes light appetizers and an opportunity to meet the bands. All the proceeds from the tickets, purchased food and drinks will go toward building the schools in Burma.

To make a reservation, please call 714/209-8521 or email Sundie Zin.

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