Support Nourishing the Seeds of Cross-Cultural Understanding

Posted On:
07 June, 2017

June 2017

A letter from our Board Chair to Al-Bustan friends near and far…

Hazami Sayed thought she had a worthwhile idea to address an immediate problem. Shortly after the national trauma from the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Hazami, an Arab-American architect living in Philadelphia with her husband and two young sons, created Al-Bustan Camp — a two-week Arabic language and cultural program for children of all backgrounds — as an antidote to the fear-mongering and anti-Arab sentiments bubbling up in our country. Little did she know that fifteen years later, polarization and xenophobia would be even more prevalent.

What can a small grassroots organization with a mission dedicated to presenting and teaching Arab culture through the arts and language do to address some of those issues, to see the ‘other’ as ‘us’ rather than ‘them’? The answer is simple: Nothing without you!

Wendy Ewald during photo shoot with NEHS students

Your support is crucial to nourish the seeds of hope for cross-cultural interest and understanding that Hazami planted in 2002, seeds which have grown and blossomed to create a remarkable number of impactful programs for people of all ages and backgrounds with the help of our dedicated team of teachers, artists, and staff. Al-Bustan, after all, is Arabic for “ the garden”!

Please give as generously as possible today. If you’re able, we’d love a donation of $250 to help us cover the print costs of ‘An Immigrant’s Alphabet’, a collaborative project by renowned photographer Wendy Ewald, a MacArthur fellow, and Northeast High School students, whose places of origin are the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. The project explores identity, cultural differences, notions of place and community through creative expression. The resulting photographs will be printed as large-scale banners installed around the exterior of the Municipal Services Building, highly visible to Center City visitors from September through December 2017.

Al-Bustan welcoming recent Syrian & Iraqi refugees in Philly
Al-Bustan welcoming recent Syrian & Iraqi refugees in Philly

Your contribution will go towards a banner for each letter of the English alphabet in this important aspirational public art statement. Donations in any amount will be gratefully received, of course.

If you would like to support our newest immigrants, please make a donation now to our scholarship fund enabling recent Syrian and Iraqi refugees to take part in Al-Bustan Camp this July. The fee for each camper is $550. Whatever you contribute towards a child’s participation and transportation will enable a child to attend for free and send a welcoming message: We’re glad you’re here!

To make a contribution online, secured via PayPal:

To make a contribution by mail, please use the DONATION FORM and mail it to the address below. Please make your check payable to:
Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture
526 South 46th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143

With your donation you can support our work through one of the following funds, at one of the giving levels listed below:

Al-Bustan EDUCATION Fund supports scholarships for youth of diverse backgrounds to attend summer camp, free arts instruction for underserved students in public schools, and continuation of community music ensembles and workshops

Al-Bustan ARTISTS Fund supports presenting internationally renowned guest artists from various disciplines and genres, and supports a resident takht ensemble of exemplary musicians

Al-Bustan’s GREATEST NEED Fund supports general operations and various programs of the organization

We established new giving societies in 2016 to recognize the organization’s loyal donors who help make our arts and education programs possible:

The Seeds – البذور
$0 – $249 | Benefit: name listed in concert programs

The Blossoms – الأزهار
$250 – $999 | Benefits: name listed in concert programs, 2 complimentary tickets with premium seating, complimentary CD

Harvest Circle – دائرة الحصاد
$1,000 – $2,499 | Benefits: name listed in concert programs, 4 complimentary tickets with premium seating, complimentary CD, invitation to special events, annual reception with artists

Orchard Circle – دائرة البستان
$2,500+ | Benefits: name listed in concert programs, 6 complimentary tickets with premium seating, 2 complimentary CDs, set of 4 Al-Bustan logo coasters; invitation to special events, annual reception with artists


Don’t dismiss this appeal as “just another donation request.” Your support today will change the way some of your neighbors, immigrant children and children of immigrants, see themselves reflected in your eyes! And for that we say a heartfelt Shukran – Thank you!

Omar Harb
Chair of The Board of Directors