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‘Hands Across Borders’ Gala Raises Record-Setting $600K

Published 11/02/2018 by Global Communities

Funds will support Project Concern International’s efforts to enhance health, end hunger, overcome hardship, and advance women and girls in San Diego and worldwide

SAN DIEGO — Project Concern International (PCI) hosted its 29th annual Hands Across Borders gala at Hilton San Diego Bayfront on Oct. 27. The event recognized local and global efforts to protect and uplift children in San Diego and worldwide and raised more than $600,000—a record for the gala. Attendees included Congresswoman Susan Davis, Congressman Scott Peters, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales-Fletcher and District Attorney Summer Stephan.

“Every child deserves a champion and this community has rallied behind that message and our mission since 1961,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President & CEO of PCI. “Our work to enhance health, end hunger, overcome hardship and advance women and girls would not be possible without San Diego’s generosity and support.

Among the event highlights was a joint performance by members of Barefeet Theatre and Project ROOTS, PCI’s youth empowerment and trafficking prevention education program in San Diego. Barefeet Theatre, a Zambia-based nonprofit, helps street children in Zambia make positive life choices through the transformational power of the arts. The organization was co-founded by Tobias Tembo, a past participant of PCI’s Africa KidSAFE program for orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia.

“Back then, it was sometimes hard to see how my life mattered. But getting involved with PCI and Barefeet Theatre changed that – it changed everything,” said Tembo, who accepted the 2018 Humanitarian Award on behalf of Barefeet Theatre. “I began to see that the world is full of possibilities. I began to have hope for my future, and that is such a tremendous gift.”

The Hands Across Borders gala also recognized Haida Mojdehi with the Anne Otterson Community Connector Award. Mojdehi is an accomplished local attorney who has dedicated years of service and philanthropy toward helping children in San Diego and worldwide reach their full potential.

“I have seen first-hand PCI’s work in our community and beyond,” Mojdehi said. “We should all be proud to have this organization, fighting for our children in our city.”

Hands Across Borders was chaired by Maria Decker, Elizabeth Roemer and Julie Tafel Klaus, with support from emeritus chairs Patricia Mogul and Leila Hajalilou. The event, which featured a silent auction, raised funds to support PCI’s efforts to help transform the lives of 20 million of the poorest and most vulnerable people by 2020.

About Project Concern International (PCI): PCI is a global development organization that drives innovation from the ground up to create meaningful and measurable change in people’s lives. Together with our partners, we empower communities to enhance health, end hunger, overcome hardship, and advance women and girls. We envision a world in which the most vulnerable people will have the power to lift themselves out of poverty and to create vital, healthy lives for their families and communities now and for the future. Last year alone, PCI impacted the lives of nearly 12 million people in 18 countries, including the United States. For more information, visit