Shehzad Roy in the Silicon Valley
By Abdulrahman Rafiq

 

Shehzad Roy (left) and Anisha Bakshi (right)

Zindagi is the Urdu word for life. But for the Prince of Pakistani Pop, Shehzad Roy it has also taken on another meaning. Shehzad began a Fundraising Campaign for his Zindagi Trust, here in America, starting on Friday the 8th of September at Mehran Restaurant in Newark, California. He was accompanied by Anisha Bakshi and others at this $100 per person dinner event.
Shehzad is one of Pakistan’s most well-known young faces. His female fan following is incredible these days as I recently witnessed first-hand. He has won two of Pakistan’s high honors for his social work. In the year 2004, he was awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in recognition of his relentless efforts for the cause of education of the underprivileged children under the Zindagi Trust’s ‘I-am-paid-to-learn’ program. And in June 2006, the President of Pakistan conferred on him Sitar-e-Eisaar in recognition of the Zindagi Trust’s relief efforts and services for the rehabilitation of the October 8, 2005 earthquake victims. But if you speak to him about these awards you will not find him tooting his horn (as a matter of fact he actually plays the guitar and sings incredibly well).
What is the “I am Paid to Learn” Program? Zindagi reaches out to working children and provides them basic education, supplementing, rather than disturbing the finances of their families. It does this by providing incentive to the working child and his/her parents in form of cash payments of Rs.20 for each session attended.
The evening’s program was well attended by Silicon Valley Pakistanis, who donated generously to this cause. A grand sum of $22,800 was raised on the blessed night of Shab-e-Barat.
All in all it was a well planned out event, from the entertainment to the catering. The entertainers, in addition to the well-known Shahzad Roy, included several unknown artists like Anisha Bakshi from both the San Francisco Bay Area and Pakistan.
(The author is a technology professional in the Silicon Valley, a free-lance writer/journalist for the Pakistan Link and Newsline, the co-founder of the Silicon Valley Pakistani-American Council (SVPAC), and founder of the Pakistan Science & Engineering Foundation—kindling the flame of Science & Innovation in Pakistan. He can be reached at arafiq@paksef.org)

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