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Humans in Harmony

Press release issued: 3 March 2003

A second-year medical student at Bristol University is organising a concert to raise funds for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and UNICEF at Clifton Cathedral on March 15th.

In Afghanistan thousands of people have been displaced; in Angola a war-scarred population faces vast resettlement challenges; and in Palestine isolated communities have no access to healthcare. Azra Zyada, a second-year medical student at Bristol University, was so concerned about these problems that instead of doing her second-year medical project she asked her supervisors if she could organise a concert to raise funds for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and UNICEF, charities that work in these countries.

Azra and her friends, Petrina Back and Sarah Ellson, have recently given up all their free time to organise the concert entitled 'Humans in Harmony'. It will be given by two soloists from the Royal College of Music in London. The pianist, Abigail Baker who has been blind since birth, and the violinist, Elizabeth McGrath, will play music by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, amongst others. The concert will take place in Clifton Cathedral at 8.00 pm on March 15th.

Azra is hoping to sell 1,000 tickets for the concert and to raise more funds by selling T-shirts and collecting money. Azra said: 'If there is enough support for this project it would be a very big step towards bringing these stories to light and assisting people in these countries. Please help if you can.' Anyone interested in helping Azra sell tickets, collecting money or sponsoring the event should contact the University's Public Relations Office.

The UK director of Medecins Sans Frontieres, Jean-Michel Piedagnel, will attend the concert and give a short talk about the health issues in the countries concerned. Jean-Michel Piedagnel said: 'Despite claims that Afghanistan is now secure, our presence there is still vital. In Angola we provide general healthcare for a population traumatised by 25 years of war, and in Gaza and Hebron we run mobile health clinics which combine mental health programmes with medical care.

'Azra is doing a fantastic job raising awareness of these health issues. Her organisation of this concert will provide us with valuable funds. Over 80 per cent of all MSF funds go directly to field operations and only 6 per cent on administration, so Azra's efforts will make a real difference.'

Sponsors of the event include the White Hart Pub on Park Row in Bristol, the Medical Protection Society and the Medical Sickness Society. The students hope to get more sponsorship as support gathers for this project.

Tickets for the concert cost £5 and can be purchased from the Music Room in Bristol 0117 929 0390 or Bristol University's Student Union Shop on 0117 954 5824.

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