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To make the most of the last available late-night-followed-by-long-lie-in combo of the Bank Holiday weekend, Restless Beings held it's third year anniversary shindig – Echoship - on Sunday 1st May (the date was a good reason too). The ship was full to capacity as 400 guests filed on board for the evening's entertainment. Some fantastic and very generous jazz and spoken word artists performed to this formally attired crowd to celebrate Restless Beings's good work and to acknowledge the universal importance of human rights, a cause the charity works tirelessly to promote. Sharply dressed revellers danced late into the evening aboard Embankment's HMS President, which hosted the 1920s themed event.
Among the artists, Soweto Kinch impressed with his beautiful sax solos, and his ability to incorporate words beginning with the letters of Restless (revolution, energy, ship, truth, love, egg, stinky and snake - contributed by the crowd) into a freestyle rap. Cherri Prince charmed the whole boat with her soulful vocal, and later joined Mangaliso Asi on stage as he entertained with South African inspired beats. The busker David Tughan brought 20's jazz back to life and, after an interval of food and fresh river air, Sabrina Mahfouz made a cameo performance treating the audience to a whirlwind snippet of her sassy verse. Inua Ellams's rich voice lulled the crowd with tales of South London and finally Mohammad Yahya got everyone on their feet to dance.
The night's festivities were punctuated by a series of films showing the work Restless Beings has done so far and how much further it intends to go. The audience were introduced to some of the street children that frequent the RB Centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The crowd watched in silence as Suhel, aged 8, explained the progress he has made while at the centre. Heartbreakingly this included staying away from cigarettes and drugs as well as learning the English and Bengali alphabet.
Mabrur and Rahima's (RB founders) recent trip to Kyrgyzstan was then shown in the film. The plights of so many women in this central Asian country were glimpsed as the film documented the practice of Ala Kachuu, or bridal kidnap. Interviewees, whose faces were blurred at their request, were shown breaking down as they explained their helplessness at the hands of their kidnappers. The alarming frequency of this practice was made known and condemned by victims and observers alike. Restless Beings seeks to tackle the practice of Ala Kachuu and the human rights abuses it constitutes (which often include rape and domestic violence as its second project). The crowd readily assented to give its support to the charity in this endeavour.
Although Echoship was primarily designed to raise awareness of Restless Beings projects, the event brought in a profit of £1,500 through ticket sales, donations and sponsorship which will go directly to the causes RB supports.
The event had an impressively diverse turnout spanning young and old(er), and various social groups with different tastes, styles and creeds. So by each spreading the word, little by little we can achieve a wide impact. Change is coming with YOUR support! Keep those post-weekend convos at work/uni/in the gym going throughout the week: please spread the word about the human rights abuses so many face and which so few know about. Stay restless!