This summer WildAid contacted me, asking whether I would like to photograph one of their events. Last time I worked with them (during the Tiger Gala in March ’11) I met lovely people and made memories I treasure, all while helping in a good cause. I was excited for the opportunity to do a little more to support the charity and happily agreed.
The event in question was a cocktail party hosted at the stunning home of internet entrepreneurs and generous philanthropists, Michael and Xochi Birch, in order to bring several international branches of WildAid together to share news and inspiration.
While the stone lions stood guard at the door, preparations were underway inside…
Guests began arriving; dressed to dazzle.
Xochi (on the left) and Michael Birch (second from right) offered their guests warm hospitality while everyone happily mingled, then the guests of honour arrived.
First in was Vivek Oberoi, Bollywood actor and ambassador for the Indian branch of WildAid.
He was followed shortly by Yao Ming, former NBA basketball player and ambassador for the Chinese branch of WildAid, where one of his current campaigns is to end the slaughter of sharks for their fins by raising awareness in China.
Yao Ming spoke with Peter Knights (Executive Director of WildAid) and a few supporters.
Then the ambassadors of India and China met at last.
Yao Ming dwarfed everyone in the room with his impressive 7′ 6″ stature.
We saw the latest awareness videos that WildAid had produced, featuring celebrity ambassadors such as Vivek Oberoi, Jackie Chan and Leonardo DiCaprio.
And Peter Knights told everyone about the work that Wildaid has been doing around the world over the past year or so, as well as what is lined up for the near future.
He then handed over to Yao Ming, starting off the discussion by explaining that Yao Ming endured a terrible trauma as a spectator at the Olympics, when China had been defeated by Team GB earlier that afternoon in their first Olympics basketball win since 1948!
Then it was Vivek Oberoi’s turn to talk about his hopes for the future of WildAid’s work…
…and to show that he’s a WildAid supporter through and through.
A little photo-op with Peter Knights, Yao Ming, Vivek Oberoi and Tykee Malhotra, also from WildAid India.
And then yes, I had my photo taken with the charming Bollywood star too.
The evening wrapped up with a low-tech raffle to win a beautiful aluminium wildlife print.
And everyone drank their final drinks and began filtering away home, ending another happy and inspiring evening.
I find it wonderful to see charity members and supporters so dedicated to doing what many merely brush off as being impossible, and to see accounts of the success that happens when people strive for what’s just out of reach.