In 1971 Ravi Shankar asked his friend George Harrison to help his country, which was suffering from the effects of floods, famine and civil war. The resulting Concert for Bangladesh was the first major music benefit concert for a humanitarian cause, raising much needed funding and awareness for UNICEF in Bangladesh.
This August, more than 70 musicians worldwide paid tribute to George Harrison, Ravi Shankar and the Concert for Bangladesh by asking their friends and fans to help save some lives by supporting UNICEF's efforts in the Horn of Africa, where millions of children are at risk of malnutrition, disease and death.
The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF is a joint undertaking between the Harrison family and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support UNICEF programs that provide lifesaving assistance to children, including health, education, nutrition and emergency relief. In the tradition established by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF continues to support UNICEF programs in Bangladesh while expanding its influence to include other countries where children are in need.
In 2008, The George Harrison Fund joined with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), to launch a fundraising challenge on college campuses across America. The Help Us Save Some Lives Campus Challenge is now in its 4th year. Last year Penn for UNICEF raised over $10,000 through the Campus Challenge to become the 2009-2010 Campus Challenge winners.
For more information on the nationwide challenge for students, faculty and supporters click here.
Legendary Indian musician and peace advocate, Ravi Shankar was honored with the first ever George Harrison Humanitarian Award. The award was presented by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF following Shankar's concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Shankar was honored for his unprecedented efforts in saving the lives of children and his involvement with the Concert for Bangladesh—organized by George Harrison and inspired by Ravi Shankar—the Concert marked the first time rock musicians collaborated for a common humanitarian cause.
Harrison set the precedent that music could be used to serve a higher cause. The Concert for Bangladesh was one of the most ambitious humanitarian efforts in rock music history. It produced an extraordinary contribution for UNICEF, exceeding $15 million. Perhaps more importantly, the concert focused global attention on the crisis in Bangladesh and raised the consciousness of other musicians and millions of their young fans to a new awareness of UNICEF and its role in the developing world.
Click here to see how Ravi and George worked together to execute this historic event.