Human First Coalition Holds First Fundraiser in Manhattan Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Archewell Foundation are Honored

NEW YORK, Aug. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Safi Rauf, a former prisoner of the Taliban who put his medical career on hold to establish Human First Coalition with his brothers, held their first fundraiser at New York City’s Metropolitan Pavilion on August 15, the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Human First honored U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), with the Haji Abdul Rauf Service Award for advocating nationally and internationally on behalf of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, for leading several evacuation efforts in Mazar-i-Sharif this past fall, and for being a model for exemplary allyship in resettling and providing resources for Afghans in the state of Connecticut.

The Partner Organization Award was presented to the Archewell Foundation and its co-founders, Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their advocacy on behalf of and generous financial support for at-risk Afghans as well as military veterans who served in Afghanistan. James Holt, the Executive Director of the Archewell Foundation accepted the award.

413 guests were treated to an elegant and beautiful event celebrating Afghan culture, food, music, traditions and artisanship of jewelry, clothing, accessories and rugs.

"It was incredible to see Afghans and non-Afghans alike coming together and lifting each other up on what was otherwise a very dark day. It’s been quite a year and I’m grateful for the opportunity to gather with such esteemed guests to renew our commitment to Afghans in need. Human First remains dedicated to our allies on the ground and we so appreciate everyone who came to mark the occasion, reaffirm the values of Afghan culture, and recommit ourselves to Afghan aid in the year to come," Rauf stated.

Music is an important part of all cultures, yet the Taliban labels any non-religious music as a form of evil, so these moments at this were especially meaningful. Performance highlights included Farhad Darya, Afghanistan’s most popular singer serenading the crowd.

"Musicians have been erased from public life. In Afghan culture and society, music is a big part of their existence. It is crucial to their hope, happiness and peace which is considered a fundamental right," said Darya during his remarks at the event.

Zarifa Adiba, conductor of Afghanistan’s first and only all-female orchestra who was recently resettled in the U.S. this spring, conducted "Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera featuring Norm Lewis, Broadway star, Tony Award and Grammy nominee.

"Who [is] the Taliban to say you cannot play? I will play louder than before! I will play stronger than before and I will play for peace, and I will play for peace in Afghanistan," Ms. Adiba exclaimed at the event.

The funds raised at the event will be used to fund food, shelter, medical care, and disaster relief on the ground as well as to pilot initiatives aimed at providing educational opportunities for girls above grade 6 and to bolster stateside advocacy for Afghans in need. To learn more about and donate to the Human First Coalition, visit

Links to the highlight video and photos are provided.

Contact: Betsy Shepherd

SOURCE Human First Coalition