HDF Fundraiser in Santa
Clara Collects $155,000
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Human Development Foundation (HDF) held its 3rd Annual Silicon
Valley Benefit Dinner at the Santa Clara Marriott Hotel on
July 15, 2006. Over 600 Pakistanis and locals attended this
gala event which can attribute its success to our community’s
ongoing concern about the welfare of Pakistan and the efforts
of a great team that the HDF has assembled (including some
young people) here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The event began with a recitation from the Holy Qura’n
by Imam Tahir Anwar. Dinner was served on time with, and this
year with chili added to cater to Pakistani tastes and professionally
presented in the continental tradition.
and Azeem Khan
of ceremonies Athar Siddiqee made the necessary introductions
and got the program off to a good start. Our local host and
leader Javed Khan of the HDF came up to the stage and welcomed
everyone and thanked them for coming. “Figure out how
to take part in this movement” (for the less fortunate),
he said. He urged everyone to join the HDF and use this organization
as a vehicle to bring change into the lives of poor people
in Pakistan. Javed gave a briefing on his last visit to Pakistan
and shared with us the great work that the HDF is doing there.
The victims of the October 2005 massive earthquake in Northern
Pakistan and Kashmir were very much on Javed’s mind
during his “Report to Donors” and when he made
an appeal to everyone present to be generous again this year.
He also took the opportunity to thank a number of community
members and local HDF team members along with the volunteers
who worked very hard to make this event possible.
Following Javed, two young boys, twins Adeeb and Azeem Khan,
came up to the stage dressed in the traditional Pakistani
clothes and sang “Dil Dil Pakistan.” It would
have been a real delight if this song’s original singer
Junaid Jamshed of the “Vital Signs” could have
been there to assist them, but for some reason he could not
make it even though as he was originally slated to be the
event keynote speaker.
Syed Ilyas Ahmed next spoke from his experience with disaster
management. He spelled out the specific immediate needs after
the October 2005 earthquake - building materials and people
(plumbers and electricians)and medicines (especially Tetanus
vaccines). Syed was extremely appreciative of the Cuban Medical
team that stayed on for 9 months in the area to help 31000
people, performing 845 surgeries and over 5900 minor procedures.
(And to add to his words we Pakistani-Americans would like
to acknowledge the help provided by the US Chinook Helicopter
crews and M.A.S.H. units during Pakistan’s days of crisis).
Dr. Shahnaz Khan, one of the two main pillars of the Human
Development Foundation, spoke next. She introduced us to the
HDF “Apni Madad Aap” campaign that is the organization’s
philosophical base. Dr. Khan spoke of the more than 20,000
children that died in that earthquake but reminded everyone
that over 400,000 children die in Pakistan every year from
treatable diseases. She said that this was the silent and
daily disaster still there. She said that next year HDF would
be 10 years old, a matter of pride for us. She also described
the work that the organization has been doing in various parts
of Pakistan and invited everyone to visit its projects while
visiting there. She recognized the original vision of the
HDF which the late Dr. Mahbub ul Haq had presented. “The
vision is not to have state welfare,” she said. The
HDF is a charitable organization, but it is not a charity.
She said that the HDF promoted self-help.
section of the audience
to R: Javed Khan, Shahid Khan and Athar Siddique
moving video montage presentation described the phases of
earthquake relief that HDF was involved in. But there is so
much more to do where we can help. HDF is compassion, teamwork
and hope. HDF makes a difference, described by a voice in
Dr. Rajabally, a well-known area personality was invited to
assist in the fundraising activity. And amongst his many talents,
he is very much in the fundraising arena and quickly took
charge of the task. Over $137,000 had been collected by Maghrib
prayer time and before the keynote speech soon after.
Keynote speaker Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is no stranger to the area
Islamic speaker’s circuit. He is a sought after commentator
on a number of Islamic issues and has been especially helpful
in communicating the real face of Muslims in post-9/11 America.
But on this evening his talk was focused on Pakistan and the
Pakistanis whom he described as an “incredibly generous”
community which is very supportive of Muslim causes. He said
that he had come into contact with the misery of the October
2005 earthquake in the UAE and had a feel for the conditions
there. He described Pakistan as “a state founded on
very high principles” and felt that the younger generation
does not realize how many people sacrificed a great deal to
come to Pakistan. “A lot of people have forgotten what
that principle was,” he said. He added that some have
even become cynical. “People really need to think about
the state of Pakistan,” he added. He spoke of the thousands
of Pakistani doctors working in the USA, and asked how many
people were from King Edwards and Aga Khan Medical College
in the audience? King Edward gave up his crown for love, he
reminded us. “You serve what you love,” he said.
He described Pakistan as an extraordinary place that needs
Entertainment brought the evening to its logical conclusion.
Dr. Waheed Siddiqee played sitar along with Ferhan Qureshi
on tabla to start things off. Local poet Javaid Sayed presented
some of his moving verses. Asim Khan on keyboards and the
very popular Maneshwar Judge on the tabla rejuvenated the
Sawaaz Band spirit.
Javed Khan and the local HDF team (especially Shahid Khan
who was recognized for his efforts on stage) and all the old
and young volunteers from local Pakistani-American community
need to be thanked for the success of this event. The $155,000
raised was certainly a great reflection on everyone here.
In conclusion, the HDF mission is “to facilitate a movement
for a positive social change and community empowerment through
mass literacy, enhanced quality of education, universal primary
health care and grassroots economic development.” Under
the “Apni Madad Aaap” banner the HDF is currently
serving thousands of people and operating over 200 schools,
many health care clinics and has a large in micro-credit effort
in Pakistan. It is headquartered in Schaumburg Illinois and
can be reached at www.hdf.com online where one will find a
group Americans that proudly say “Yes” to Pakistan.