KOTA Alliance Founder Talks Kota Awards & More!

Editor in Chief: Najaam Lee
Photo credits: NLee – GOSH!ABOUT,  Nicola Bailey

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The GOSH!ABOUT Team attended the Kota Awards on May 25, 2016 at THE GARAGE in New York City. After the event, I took the time to reach out to both founders of the Kota Alliance and Stand For Education with a quick Q & A about the event, in which I only heard back from Kota Alliance Founder and President , Jaana Rehnström .

Two important causes which came together on helping to empower all women, especially here in America and war torn countries like South Sudan. And, at the event was combined with the Sustainable Style Fashion Show, showcasing collections from talented emerging and established designers with awards given to the top three.

Sadly, the fashion show took over the whole entire event, which pushed back or rather slighted both causes, in my opinion. Not much was highlighted on the causes, and even when trying to touch on the charities, you could hardly hear much less pay little attention. And as a journalist, observing the scene, more questions than answers arose. Major celebrity-guest appearances who were to attend, were a No Show! And sadly, I did not hear much on the auction. By the time the fashion show ended and the winners were announced, most attendees left the venue. And that was the event. So I had questions, but to get a good summary perspective by both parties, I asked my top 7 Question Q & A.

Here’s what I asked Jaana Rehnström in this interview.

 

Thank you Jaana for answering our top 7 Question Q and A session. Thank you for giving us some insight on the event and going forward with Kota Alliance.

GA: What are top 3 highlights from the Kota Awards that stood out to you?

JR – 1.The Devotion Of Our Volunteers Who Put In So Much Time And Effort Into Creating This Event;

2 – The Sheer Creativity On Display By The Students Who Embraced The Assignment So Seriously, And The Artistry And Professionalism Of All Who Transformed THE GARAGE Space;

3 – The Support And Enthusiasm Of The Audience

GA: As you look back, what did you want everyone to take away from the event?

JR – Hopefully All Of These Things: The Seriousness With Which We Have To Address The Issue Of Sustainable Fashion; The Situation In Rural South Sudan And Many Other Parts Of The World In Terms Of Lack Of Education Particularly For Girls Impeding Development Of Societies As A Whole; And The Fact That We With Our Actions Here In NYC Can Do Something To Change That.

GA: What would you have done differently to raise more awareness for KOTA?

JR – STARTED EARLIER! We Had a Very Short Time Available To Take Advantage Of This Opportunity To Combine The Efforts Of All Our Volunteers With The Space Available To Us.

GA: How successful was the event for you?

JR – Financially Not So Much Due To Unavoidable Expenses And Difficulty In Getting Large Corporations To Support – Not Surprising However , Considering We Were An Unknown Until Now. In Terms Of PR And BRANDING, Extremely Successful.

GA: How much money was raised for the Kota Alliance that evening?

JR – Gross About $35 000 But Still Figuring Out The Expenses.

GA: What is next for the Kota Alliance?

JR – We Are Looking For Funding For a $5M Gap That We Have, To Fully Finance a Building That We May Have An Opportunity To Build On a City Lot In HARLEM. It Is Our Business Model To Own Our Own Space, Creating a Social Enterprise To Provide Workspace For The Organizations Working On Gender Equality And WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT.

GA: What do you have planned that our audience can be apart of?

JR – ON JUNE 19 In Prospect Park You Can Join in a 5K Run And Nordic Pole Walkathon HOSTED BY OUR MEMBER ORGANIZATION FINLAND CENTER FOUNDATION To Benefit THE KOTA ALLIANCE. It Only Costs $25 To Join But You Can Funraise For Your Run (A PRIZE TO THE BIGGEST FUNDRAISER AS WELL AS MALE AND FEMALE RACE WINNERS). SIGN UP HERE: http://bit.ly/1UiWaKZ

Sign up for their 5K and be apart of something whose goal is empowering and raising women up through education, support and much more.

ABOUT KOTA ALLIANCE & STAND FOR EDUCATION

The Kota Alliance, established as a New York 501(c)3 in March 2015, aims to promote gender equality and empower women around the world by creating a World Center for Women – a physical premises in New York City for not-for-profit organizations whose global mission is to improve women’s lives. The Kota World Center for Women will provide a collaborative physical space where women’s organizations can gather, share ideas, and collectively progress towards their mission to realize gender equality and women’s empowerment.  www.kota-alliance.org

Stand For Education, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization registered in the state of New York that is dedicated to providing access to educational resources; Clothing, Shoes, Backpacks, Books, Uniform, Workshops on personal hygiene and use of hygiene products, Seminars on self-esteem, awareness through public events, such as concerts, fashion shows, art exhibitions or children’s programs. We will strive to identify sustainable empowerment and educational opportunities for the under-served children in war ravaged Countries who reside in US and abroad, with a special focus on girls in South Sudan and environs. Our goal is to assist these underprivileged girls from the age of five to eighteen years of age to improve their lives, well being and that of their families, thus their communities. Stand4Ed will work within local cultures to inspire awareness, collaboration, and empowerment in these underprivileged communities. www.stand4education.org

#GOSHABOUTKOTA

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