Michigan Holds Human
Development Foundation Fund Raising Dinner
By M. Shahid Yousuf
Maqbool Ahmad and his wife
The Michigan Chapter of the
Human Development Foundation (USA) may have conducted the
most successful single fund-raising event ever since its founding
within APPNA ( Association of Pakistani Physicians of North
America) in 1997.
The gala event held at Westin Hotel at Detroit Metropolitan
Airport drew community leaders as well as young volunteers
and activists. Included in the audience were numerous past
presidents of PAA (Pakistan Association of Michigan), PAFS
(Pakistan American Friendship Society), distinguished members
from APPNA, members of governing bodies of many mosques and
community centers as well as general expatriate Pakistanis
all of whom demonstrated manifest love for the country they
had left and the people they still love.
The event was organized by core membership of the HDF and
included Dr. Zeenat Anwar, Mr. Muzammil Malik, Dr. Iqbal Nasir,
Dr. Alamgir Khan, Dr. Nina Khan, Mrs. Rufi Mussani, Mr. Ashraf
Kazi, Mr. Shahid Tahir and Ms. Huma. Besides these there were
The event was supported by a number of Pakistani fashion boutiques
which had set up their booths displaying the latest Pakistani
tastes in attire and jewelry. Other sponsors included pharmaceutical
companies which had organized three medical seminars preceding
the main event of the evening.
HDF’s origins are from APPNA which launched HDF as a
gift to the people of Pakistan on the 50th anniversary of
Pakistan’s birth. At that time it was known as HDFNA.
That event held during the annual summer meeting of APPNA
was a landmark event in its history. Numerous distinguished
guests graced the occasion on its founding and included famous
Pakistani economist late Dr. Mahboob ul Haq who is credited
with new ways to measure the progress of nations in human
terms, i.e. the human development index (HDI) in 1990. This
is now an established United Nation’s standard to measure
poverty, literacy and life expectancy. In short, it is a measure
of the well being of the population.
The meeting began with a moment of silence for the victims
of hurricane Katrina. HDF has already contributed towards
the relief efforts for the victims of Katrina. Dr. Zeenat
Anwar, announced that APPNA had already disbursed over $50,000
to the relief efforts. Additionally APPNA has contributed
in kind with medical expertise and relief efforts.
speaker Dr. Mahmood Khan and his wife
Iqbal Nasir and Dr. Zeenat Anwar
The gathering saw a very powerful
video presentation of the gravity of the problems facing ordinary
Pakistanis and how HDF operations were aiding in micro loans,
female literacy, health education and small enterprise formation.
The presentation was heard by the audience in rapt silence
for they did not wish to miss anything. It was heartening
to see humble efforts that were paying off in terms of education,
self-reliance and pride of accomplishment. Funds in Pakistan
have been disbursed for simple items such as sewing machines,
buffaloes, small foundry parts as well as making dams to convert
barren desert areas into orchards. HDF project directors in
Pakistan were telling the audience in human terms that in
addition to goodwill there was a harvest of fulfilled dreams
of ordinary Pakistanis.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Mahmood Khan, Vice President of
Medical and Scientific Affairs of Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc.
USA. His presentation was a moving narration of stark realities
such as the fact that some 47 million Pakistanis subsist on
$2 or less per day. A photo clip of a hut with a few children
playing amongst a heap of garbage was shown. The children’s
material possessions consisted of nothing other than the clothes
on their backs. But what was endearing to see was that there
were smiles on these children’s faces. Dr. Mahmood Khan
reminded the audience that these children were not despondent
but full of hopes and aspirations and by inference it is our
job here to materialize their dreams into achievable goals.
He reminded that HDF had supported 1000 organizations in Pakistan.
He reminded that Pakistan had become a nation of illiterates.
to R) Dr. Zeenat Anwar and Dr. Batool Shaikh
to R) Mr. Muzammil Malik, Dr. Zeenat Anwar and Ms. Huma
The video, keynote speaker and
others like Drs. Zeenat Anwar, Abdulqadir Mussani and Iqbal
Nasir repeated the themes. The audience, some 500 strong,
was moved and the contributions began to come at first slowly
but then picked up pace till some $ 250,000 had been collected.
Even small children gave their allowances. At this stage it
seemed that the evening would not tap any more resources.
Then without any prior announcement Dr. Zeenat Anwar was handed
a pledge form. She had meant to read it off the bat but the
sum had an action stopping effect. For a moment she held the
paper without saying anything. But recomposing herself a few
moments later she summoned Dr. and Mrs. Maqbool Ahmed of Carbondale,
IL to the stage where she announced that the couple had donated
$ 250 000 to the HDF. The whole audience stood up and gave
a standing ovation. More funds came pouring in. The final
tally is likely to be well in excess of $500,000. This sum
is even larger than the sum that was collected in the first
HDF Michigan Function which had Princess Sarvath of Jordan
among the invitees.
The entertainer for the evening was Jawad Ahmad who for some
reason ran out of a lead guitarist. The vacuum was filled
by another APPNA and HDF member Dr. Faraz Masood and the musical
evening went late into the next morning.
HDF is a civil society organization registered in USA as a
501 (c) 3 organization. It has no relationship with the government
of Pakistan and some similar sounding organization like NCHD,
PHDF. HDF is about facilitating a movement for human development
and works by helping people help themselves in Pakistan.
HDF is co-chaired by Dr. Khalid Riaz (IL) and Dr. Shahnaz
Khan (FL). It is a distinct entity and should not be confused
with other similarly sounding names. HDF web page elaborates
on this question of differences between HDF and other organizations.
http://yespakistan.com/HDF/faq.asp#topclarification This site
http://yespakistan.com/hdf/ can also be used for online donations.