Empowerment through Education
By Dr Farhana Mohamed Khan
South Pasadena, California

L to R : Dr. Farhana Mohamed Khan and Dilshad Shah

Being a developing nation, Pakistan continues to face myriads of problems. Taking this fact into account, several Pakistani-American groups are working hard to provide opportunities to the less fortunate people of their motherland. When advanced and developing nations are compared, education deficit is one of the major reasons for stark underlying differences in almost all the human development indicators. Thus one of the most reliable ways to improve the lot of Pakistanis is by providing them with educational opportunities – especially to the young women. Educating a young female child is the most effective way to empower the most vulnerable segment of the population with eventual benefits to the whole nation.
The Merit Grant of Young Women (MGYW) Project of Pakistani American Forum was launched in 2000 to empower young women to of Pakistan through education. This June it held its annual educational and fundraising event at the Elk Lodge of San Gabriel Valley. One of the hallmarks of the event was the attendance of the Pakistani Students Association (PSA) members from all local major schools. The other area where MGYW takes prides is in its ability to attract a large number of non-Pakistanis to the event and educate them about the positive aspects of Pakistan, MGYW Project and its efforts to provide sustained educational support to its selected scholars. For instance this year, prominent members from Southern California Friends’ Afghan Refugee School Committee, India Friends Association, South Pasadena Democratic Club, and others attended the event. In addition, MGYW appreciates attendance by the Presidents of our own Pakistani organizations, COPAA and UKAA.
The MGYW event was aptly emceed by Essam Ul Haq, President of UCI PSA. The main features of the event were PowerPoint presentation about MGYW activities by Farhana Mohamed, elegant silent auction by Tahara Asad, Dilshad Shah, and Donna Fernandez. The entertainment segment included dance or video presentations by Pakistani Students Association (PSA) members from Calstate Fullerton, USC, UCI and UCLA followed by melodious renditions by Sohail Khan, Naila Tajgeer and Arif Rizvi.
The MGYW Board and PSA members who made this successful event possible included Azra Said, Dilshad Shah, Farhana Mohamed, Iram Iqbal, Naila Tajgeer, Rohida Khan, Shahnaz Akbari, Tahara Asad, Essam UlHaq, and Ambreen Mohamed. For further information about MGYW, readers can visit its website at: www.mgyw.org

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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