"Kids of HOPE" April 21st Tsunami Relief Gala Features John Tesh

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Benefiting the children of Sri Lanka, Tesh will be joined by The Children of the World Choir and Lisbeth Scott.

Only a small fraction of the funds pledged by donor countries and large organizations has materialized to date. Sri Lanka is still greatly in need of assistance to recover from this catastrophic disaster.

The "Kids of Hope" tsunami relief benefit for the children of Sri Lanka, hosted by the Sri Lanka Express Foundation and the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Los Angeles, will feature award-winning musician John Tesh, the Children of the World Choir and Lisbeth Scott (songwriter and vocalist from the movie “The Passion of the Christ”). These special guests will be among many celebrities coming together to help raise desperately needed funds for orphans and disabled children still suffering from the tsunami tragedy in Sri Lanka. Tickets for the Kids of HOPE benefit gala on Thursday, April 21 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel from 6:30pm to 10:00pm are available for online purchase at http://www.kidsofhope.org/ or by calling (866) 462-2838. Tickets cost $195 until April 10, 2005 and $250 thereafter.

The Kids of HOPE event theme is an exotic "Night in Sri Lanka," a celebration of HOPE and the triumph of the human spirit. The newly nominated Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States, Bernard Gunatillake, is expected to be an honored guest. Guests will mingle with celebrities, business leaders and members of the international diplomatic community. In addition to the Asian-inspired menu, festivities will include a silent auction, a cultural dance performance, and a video journey from the country’s devastated shoreline.

The Sambodhi Orphanage and Home for the physically and mentally disabled in Galle will be among the main beneficiaries of the night’s proceeds. The home was virtually destroyed by six-foot waves, and then looted in the ensuing chaos. Fully half of the 102 residents at Sambodhi were swept out to sea and drowned. Kids of HOPE also will provide scholarships for other tsunami orphans and displaced children, in association with the Lion’s Club of Beliatta and Hendala.

"Because the disaster is no longer being publicized on TV doesn’t mean that people have returned to their homes and that everything is back to normal," says Hassina Leelarathna, a journalist who heads the Sri Lanka Express Foundation. "There are still thousands living in small tents, under a scorching sun. It will be even worse when the monsoons break. In short, funds are still desperately needed, especially for the children."

Mr. Gamini Pemasiri, acting Consul General in Los Angeles says that, "Only a small fraction of the funds pledged by donor countries and large organizations has materialized to date. Sri Lanka is still greatly in need of assistance to recover from this catastrophic disaster." Three months after the tragedy, Finance ministry officials in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo report that out of 884 million dollars pledged initially after the tsunami, only an estimated 11% has been allocated.

Media and promotional partners of the Kids of HOPE event include; Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, Beverly Hills Courier, Celebrity Service, Daily News, LA.com, LA Weekly, Press-Telegram, PRWeb, Sri Lanka Express and Variety.

About the Sri Lanka Express Foundation

The Sri Lanka Express is a Los Angeles-based bi-weekly newspaper serving the Sri Lankan diaspora in the U.S. since 1978. The Foundation was recently formed as a not-for-profit charity and is working with several U.S. and Sri Lankan organizations on tsunami-related missions. The foundation also launched a scholarship program for affected children in Beliatta near Galle, Sri Lanka. Companies interested in sponsoring the tsunami relief event or advertising in the tribute journal should contact John Forrester at (323) 663-1409 john@kidsofhope.org

Kids of HOPE Press Contact:

Beverly Visty-Doman

Dharmata PR

(310) 822-9645

Beverly@dharmata.com

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