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Blog / Category_Fund Raising

More than $20,000 for Moving Forward’s Next Step Program!

It was an evening of music and movement at Moving Forward’s Moroccan Nights Gala last Friday night as hundreds gathered to celebrate and honor Marie Fiorellino Di Poce, founder of ETA Vaughan Women’s Shelter & Outreach Centre.

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home was pleased to participate in this worthwhile event.

We spent an enjoyable evening talking to gala participants about our artwork, jewelry, sculpture and home decor. Our lovely handcrafted African wildlife were highly popular!

The event included Moroccan ambiance and talented belly dancers, all which helped raise more than $20,000 for the Moving Forward 2015 Foundation. Ms. Di Poce received the organization’s Community Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution to assisting victims of domestic violence in York Region. “Moving Forward vision is to bring hope and empowerment to struggling York Region residents. Marie’s community work is the embodiment of this, and we are humbled to honour her,” said Tony Di Battista, Gala Committee Chair and Treasurer of Moving Forward. The Moroccan Nights event hosted community leaders and councillors, including City of Vaughan’s Ward 3 Councillor and Moving Forward’s own Board Member Rosanna DeFrancesca who spoke passionately about the work Moving Forward has done. Town of Georgina’s Mayor Robert Grossi hosted the live auction, which helped raise additional funds for the Gala.

“We are so fortunate for support of so many, including an incredible group of volunteers who worked tirelessly on our Gala. As a result, our Next Step micro loan program will be able to help even more of those in need,” commented Luigi Presta, President of Moving Forward’s Board.

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home's micro-funding efforts in Africa are well aligned with the Moving Forward Foundation's mission of assisting those in need, which made it even more enjoyable to be part of their gala evening.

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Zawadee Gears Up to Help End Multiple Sclerosis

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home sponsors Spokes and Folks Team

An astounding 1,714 cyclists on 143 teams will come together on July 26th-27th, 2014 to take part in a ride that will make a difference - Gear Up to End MS - Grand Bend to London, Ontario and back - 150 km. Proceeds raised fund both world-class research and innovative programs and services across Canada.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, which is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The disease attacks the myelin which is a protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system. According to the MS Society of Canada, one-hundred thousand Canadians live with MS. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world ranging from one MS case per 500 people to one per 1000 across the country. Canada is a high risk area for the disease; a disease that occurs more often in countries that are further away from the equator such as Canada. Based on current incidence rates, the MS Society of Canada estimates that approximately 1000 new cases of MS are diagnosed in Canada each year, which means three more Canadians are diagnosed with MS every day. View the informative MS Society of Canada video (below) to learn more about the impact of Multiple Sclerosis and please consider sponsoring our team - Spokes and Folks.

Why Zawadee is sponsoring Spokes and Folks to Gear Up to End MS:

Every day three more Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable illness that affects vision, balance, memory and mobility. We don’t know what causes MS and there is no cure. Your support means families who are impacted by this often devastating disease do not have to face MS alone. Please help us make a difference!

Help Mustafa end MS!

This year will be my 9th Year riding for Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour and helping to create awareness around Multiple Sclerosis which affects many Canadians.

Thank you, 

Mustafa Salemwalla Spokes and Folks Team 

Our "Zawadee Family" on the 2010 Ride.

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The Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis - How 1,710 Cyclists Raised 1.34 Million Dollars in One Weekend

The Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis – How 1,710 cyclists raised 1.34 million dollars in 1 weekend! It seems unbelievable but it is indeed true. Combine one weekend – one large gathering of committed bike riders – 150 km – and what do you get?

1.34 million dollars raised to continue the fight against multiple sclerosis – an unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system. Zawadee – Bring Africa Home is justifiably proud of their sponsored team – Spokes and Folks – who raised almost $10,000. Go Spokes and Folks!

Spokes and Folks had the youngest rider in the entire field – Ali Salemwalla – Mustafa Salemwalla’s nephew. More coming about Ali’s incredible achievement and contribution in a future blog.

Ali Salemwalla – the youngest rider at 11 years of age in a field of 1,710 cyclists

We’d like to share a little background (and some photos and videos) with you in the hopes that next year, you’ll join the ride or sponsor a rider. Rob Brooks is an 18 year veteran of the MS Bike Tours and is an ardent supporter of the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Rob has been involved in Squash for over 50 years – as a squash pro, a coach, a board and committee member, a squash club owner and as a volunteer. Rob joined Squash Ontario’s Board of Directors as Vice President and then served 3 years as one of the association’s most successful and respected presidents.  Mustafa interviews Rob Brooks about his history and devotion to the fight against MS.


Rob credits John and Lori Burgess for his introduction to the MS Bike Tours. John and Lori told him that, in addition to providing much needed support to fight MS, it would be “the best weekend of the year”. And, we are here to tell you – they were right! Spokes and Folks beloved Captain – another “Robert” – is Bob Mansbridge – a seasoned business exec and also a long term veteran of the MS Bike Tour. Bob is extremely dedicated but an added bonus is that if you hear laughter, Bob’s probably the cause! His devotion and upbeat attitude are an inspiration to all of us. We’re very proud that Bob has traditionally been the single largest individual fund raiser on the team and “leads the way” in raising awareness about MS.

We hope you, like us, are impressed with what this large group of bicyclists achieved this year and will consider participation and/or support next year. Zawadee – Bring Africa Home believes in the power of empowerment and will continue to sponsor Spokes and Folks in their remarkable pursuit.

Please visit our website to learn more about Zawadee's empowering philanthropic commitments. We support the pursuit of clean drinking water and also micro-fund artists, entrepreneurs and students.

Stay tuned for our blog about Ali – the 11 year old marvel who completed this ride. Ali explains why he stepped up to the plate and what he learned by doing so. Ali was the youngest rider in the entire group. A heart warming and inspiring tale for certain!

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This Young Man Is A Shining Example: How An 11 Year Old Helped In The Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon" (Paul Brandt). Zawadee - Bring Africa Home sponsored the Spokes & Folks Team in the recent London to Grand Bend "Gear Up to End MS" ride. Doing so was a life-enriching experience for our entire Zawadee family.

We also had an astounding experience that transcended everything else that happened that weekend. We had the youngest rider in a field of 1,710 cyclists - Ali Salemwalla - 11 years of age. A delightful young man, Ali is Mustafa Salemwalla's (our CEO) nephew.

We were so taken aback that such a young person was equal to completing the 150 km ride, we almost missed a great opportunity . . . to find out why Ali was so committed to this cause. So we asked him, and discovered a young man with an extraordinary sense of commitment AND purpose that knocked us off our feet. Please view the video to find out how - and why - Ali made the decision to challenge himself for the benefit of others. It will both encourage you to do more yourself and warm your heart at the same time.

We hope you are as inspired and amazed with Ali's achievement as we are. Please consider sponsoring our Spokes & Folks Team for next year's Gear Up to Fight MS Ride or perhaps join the ride yourself. We know Ali would be pleased to see your support and in turn, you would be paying it forward, perhaps inspiring other young people to "reach for the sky" themselves!

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This Started Out As A VERY Different Blog About Evoking Humanity

As those of you who follow us (and thanks for doing so) know, we recently announced our collaboration with Dominic Mancuso Group (and others), beginning a new movement - Evoking Humanity.

Evoking Humanity is an effort undertaken to increase global harmony by sharing (and listening to) each others stories - our "truths". It is an open invitation to engage in celebrating each other's cultures and experiences.

And then the overwhelming events of the past few days happened. We were stunned, dismayed, horrified and, yes, we admit, we began to question ourselves. That this could happen in Canada was unthinkable.

How, we thought, is it possible to help each other through communication, sharing, understanding, listening - in a world where this can happen?

A world where some individuals are so convinced that their truth is the only truth - who believe that people should be forced to believe as they do - and who are prepared to condemn those who are not the same as they are and to act with violence. And then we remembered something that Doctor Martin Luther King said . . .

"Only in the darkness can you see the stars."

We realized it is even more important to continue our movement! While some may see it as remarkably naive, "tilting at windmills", an impossible task - we remind any naysayers that all big ideas, especially those that have wrought positive change for humankind, were aspirations. Navigators, scientists, inventors, those who wrought social change - did so because they had big dreams - big wishes.

Think about it - Gandhi, Einstein, John Lennon, Galileo, Socrates, Bill Gates, Isaac Newton, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela - we could go on and on and on! If those people hadn`t had big aspirational thoughts they were willing to invest in, where would the world be today?

Furthermore, if we close ourselves off from each other, refusing to share each other's music, art, food, stories and experience - how can we grow? Communication breeds understanding - and (we hope) respect. So, please join us in our journey to Evoke Humanity.

It will be a terrific ride - we promise. Our plan is to engage like-minded musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, students, etc., from all walks of life to tell their stories. The more we communicate with each other - the more stories we share - the more understanding will be fostered.

Please take a moment - now - to remember those who perished. Two brave, contributing men - our Canadian Soldiers - Warrant Officer, Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo. We thank you for your service to Canada and to our people. We are proud of you.

Our launch evening on October 31st - sharing music and art with Dominic Mancuso Group at Galerie Avenue Art in Montreal - is our first step toward Evoking Humanity.

If you'd like to join us, please drop us a note at mustafa@zawadee.com to register. Attendance is free! We'll be pleased to see you receive an invitation. October 31st - Doors open at 8:30p.m. and show begins at 9:30pm.

We will have a wonderful evening - listening to Dominic Mancuso Group, Lorraine Klaasen (both Juno Award Winning artists) and Mario Monaco, an inspiring world percussionist. All in the wonderful setting of the Galerie Avenue Art in Old Montreal.

In late November, we will be holding another evening of art and music in Toronto. Stay tuned - More details coming soon!

At Zawadee - Bring Africa Home, we believe in helping others through empowerment, rather than through charity. To that end, we support the effort of charity; water, in their aspiration to provide clean drinking water to everyone in the world! To that end, we also micro fund deserving artists, entrepreneurs, and students in Africa - helping them to achieve a successful life.

Please join us in our aspiration to "Evoke Humanity". In the words of The Beatles - "we can work it out" because, if we do - "then the world can live as one". Hakuna Matata, people!

Mustafa Salemwalla and Our Zawadee Team

P.S. If you have a story you'd like to share, please let us know. Because we believe, The more we share, the more we care!

P.P.S. Please help us get the word out by sharing this blog.



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Spokes and Folks Ride to End Multiple Sclerosis

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home is pleased as punch to sponsor The Spokes and Folks Bike Team in this admirable pursuit.

And we also want to do a little bragging while we're at it. Not only have we increased our team to a strong 21 member field this year, we also have a remarkable team member who has stepped up to the plate. Meet Qusai (we call him "Q"), our 8 year old nephew who has decided to join us this year. Not a small feat as he intends to ride the full course - 150 km!

The Intrepid Q

We asked Mustafa Salemwalla (our CEO and Q's uncle) what inspired Qusai to join the Ride to End MS. Q's older brother completed the ride last year at the "ripe old age" of 11, so Q decided what his brother - Ali - could do, he could do! Q and Ali have participated in a regimen of training rides in preparation for the MS Ride. Mustafa says their attitude and enthusiasm is a big part of their success, but also attributes their astounding stamina and ability to the terrific bikes they both have. As he says, "a workman is only as good as his tools". Too true! Our Team Captain Bob Mansbridge says he's astounded that our team ages range from 8 to 67 years of age. "Our youngest rider is probably our keenest, so here's a special attaboy to big-hearted Qusai. All of us look forward to seeing his big grin as he crosses the finish line. We're all proud to help out such an important cause. Crossing that finish line will be symbolic of the wonderful teamwork and effort every member has made to raise over $10K this year.

Our thanks go out to our team sponsors Zawadee - Bring Africa Home and Subway. We certainly intend to be outstanding in our new bright yellow shirts." The ride is from Grand Bend to London - Ontario on July 25-26th. Our Spokes and Folks Team has a goal to raise $10K to support ending MS. We're well on our way to reaching that goal, we're happy to say. We couldn't be prouder of our boys and hope you are too!

Why Qusai and Ali are gearing up to end MS

Every day three more Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable illness that affects vision, balance, memory and mobility. We don’t know what causes MS and there is no cure. Your support means families who are impacted by this often devastating disease do not have to face MS alone. Your dollars at work When you pledge in the MS Bike, your funds are invested into groundbreaking MS research and services for the 100,000 Canadians living with MS. Services and programs your fundraising supports:

  • Financial assistance for special equipment and home care
  • Supportive counselling for all those affected by MS
  • Self-help groups and recreational programs for people with MS
  • Government advocacy for people living with MS

Thank you in advance for your pledge to create a more hopeful future for those affected by MS.  

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We Geared Up to Fight MS & Look What Happened

Our Zawadee-sponsored bike team - Spokes & Folks - geared up "big time" to fight multiple sclerosis

Riding 150 kilometers in extremely hot temperatures (but hey, they weren't complaining) our Spokes & Folks members (27 of them) raised an astounding $14,000 to help fight MS. It's no wonder they won the Best Team Spirit award - coveted by the 133 teams in the MS Gear Ride.

Our oldest rider is 67 and our youngest (2 of them) are 10! Despite the heat, everyone displayed amazingly cheerful and cooperative spirits. Just two flat tyres and one "wonky knee" according to Captain Robert's damage report. Well Done, Spokes & Folks!

Zawadee & co-sponsor Subway are very proud of Spokes & Folks. Our members are determined to support the fight against MS to the very best of their ability. And they do. Each and every year.

Captain Robert Mansbridge says "Keep fit and keep riding. I think we've done our hottest day and our best day ever in combination!". Zawadee's intrepid leader - Mustafa Salemwalla - rides a tandem with his lovely wife - Farhat. This year, they celebrated their 10th year of riding in MS Gear!

Imagine their astonishment when they saw the efforts of an amazing Dad - Spokes & Folks team member Greg Buragina - who bravely pedaled a "triple" bike - with his two young girls riding behind! Right on, Greg. You are one cool dad, Dude!

While we are extremely pleased with all our hard-pedaling members, we are also heartsick about what sufferers of MS are facing. Please read the paragraphs below for information about MS from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. If you can't join us, please consider contributing to this worthy cause.

"MS is unpredictable and can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. Its effects can be physical, emotional and financial. Currently, there is no cure, but each day researchers are learning more about what causes MS and are zeroing in on ways to prevent it. We are here to help. No one needs to face MS alone. In communities across Canada, the MS Society provides information, support, educational events and other resources for people living with MS and their families. Researchers funded by the MS Society are working to find the cause of MS, develop better treatments with less side effects, and ultimately cure the disease for everyone who is affected by it." 

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