Project GEM raises over $100,000 to provide education for girls in Pakistan and Somalia, with total surpassing $500,000

Wayland, MA – November 24, 2014. Project GEM (Girls’ Education Matters), a volunteer group working with Oxfam America to promote girls’ education in developing countries, held its fourth annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, November 22nd, at the Islamic Center of Boston (ICB) in Wayland, Massachusetts.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick

Dr. Ingrid Mattson

Dr. Ingrid Mattson

Guest enjoying the evening.

Distinguished Guests

The sold-out event drew about 200 participants and raised over $100,000 to support girls’ schools in Pakistan and Somalia. Since its inception in 2010, Project GEM has raised over $500,000.

Project GEM has helped more than 9,000 girls to get a better education, through substantial transformations at seven schools in Pakistan, construction of a school from scratch in Somalia, and other smaller projects. Another eight schools are undergoing transformation, and once completed, will create or enhance access to education for even more girls.

Governor Deval Patrick, who has spoken at Project GEM dinners for last three years, either in person or via video, provided a warm welcome to the evening’s guests, and explained that “education unlocks doors, opens opportunities, enables individuals and lifts whole families

Project GEM’s Mohamad Ali updated the audience on the group’s accomplishments, and laid out the objective for the evening: to build a second girls’ school from scratch in Somalia, and rehabilitate three additional girl’s schools in Pakistan.

The evening’s keynote speaker Dr. Ingrid Mattson, scholar and former president of the Islamic Society of North America, in a deeply thoughtful and personal address to the Project GEM guests, recounted her own experience working in Afghanistan and the critical role access to education, or lack of access, played in determining the quality of life of girls and women she personally knew and worked with.

Other distinguished guests included Project Bread’s Executive Director Ellen Parker, NPR reporter Asma Khalid, Affirmed Networks CEO Hassan Ahmed, WBUR GM Charles Kravetz, Netscout CEO Anil Singhal, and Data Intensity CEO Kirk Arnold. The Project GEM team concluded by thanking the attendees for their tremendous generosity to uplift the lives of girls in need, and make the world a better place.