Thursday, March 19th, 2009

THE expression “never discuss politics or religion in mixed company” is being challenged this April with the Interfaith Charity Banquet, organised by Food for Thought in affiliation with the Oaktree Foundation.

To be held on April 9 at Perth’s Annalakshmi Indian Restaurant, the event is designed to explore the concept of faith in an open-minded and non-threatening environment while helping to raise money for East Timor.

“The banquet is to give religious believers an opportunity to share their faith and develop their understanding of their fellow man’s perspectives,” organiser Arina Usikov said.

“We want to promote eradication of ignorance and fear of the unknown through communication and sharing of opinions to help cultivate harmony within the community.”

From 6pm, religious representatives – including Sydney-based God, Actually author Roy Williams – will speak about the richness of their faith during the Indian vegetarian buffet, highlighting the importance of their faiths on what has become a recognised holy day for several major religions.

Miss Usikov, a St James resident and UWA student, said the banquet idea came from the social aspect of dining that helps to bring people together.

“Sharing food is a pleasant and non-threatening past-time, often acting as a ‘social lubricant’ for communication,” she said. “So what better vehicle than a banquet for a peaceful exploration of faith?”

“It’s a night to celebrate religious festivities with the broader community, displaying the richness of tradition behind faith.”

Last year, Miss Usikov attended the Intervarsity Summit on Australia’s Role in Ending Extreme Poverty, a national conference that brought together students from universities across Australia to develop a three-year plan on eradicating global poverty.

Money raised from the Interfaith Charity Banquet will go to the Oaktree Foundation’s East Timor Project, providing young East Timorese people with vocational, business and life skills training through a partnership with Plan Timor Lest ( The Oaktree Foundation is a youth-run volunteer aid and development organisation, founded by 2004 Young Australian of the Year Hugh Evans.

Tickets for the banquet are $35 a head and $25 for students. Bookings can be made by calling 0434 932 940, with discounts available for group reservations.

Annalakshmi Indian Restaurant is located at Jetty 4, Barrack Square, Barrack Street Jetty.

For more information, contact Arina Usikov on 0434 932 940 or email [email protected].


foodforthought-arina.jpg: Event organiser Arina Usikov is encouraging people to come to the Interfaith Charity Banquet at Annalakshmi Indian Restaurant on April 9.

foodforthought-welcome1.jpg: Keegan Wong, of Bateman, Arina Usikov, of St James, and Nagulan Siritharan, of Rossmoyne, getting ready for the Interfaith Charity Banquet on April 9.

foodforthought-welcome2.jpg: Rossmoyne resident Nagulan Siritharan and event organiser Arina Usikov are inviting people to help raise money for East Timor at the Interfaith Charity Banquet this April.

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Food for Thought

Food For Thought is affiliated with The Oaktree Foundation, a youth-run volunteer aid and development organisation, and donates all money raised for Oaktree’s projects in the developing world.

Through its collaboration with project partner Plan Timor Leste (, The Oaktree Foundation will be proving young people in East Timor with Vocational, Business and Life skills training. The project will bring these young people together, using their skills to initiate income-generating activities.

Of every dollar raised $0.82 goes directly to the youth in East Timor. The remainder pays for administration and relationship management costs. This is in accordance with World Relief’s standards for fund-raising, which stipulates that at least $0.75 of every dollar raised by the benefactor must reach the recipient.

All donations made on the night are tax-deductible.

(For more information visit:
Arina Usikov
P: 0434 932 940


Interfaith Charity Banquet to raise money for East Timor.


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