Empowerment through Education
By Farhana Mohamed, PhD
group at boutique
group of guests
CA: Recently, the Pakistani American Forum held at its annual
fundraiser for its Merit Grants for Young Women (MGYW) project.
The event was held at the new and elegant Shalimar Garden
Banquet in Pomona, California.
The MGYW provides sustained educational support to under-privileged
but meritorious Pakistani young women throughout their educational
endeavors. MGYW also partners with carefully selected non-profit
schools in the impoverished suburbs of major Pakistani cities
as well as in the rural Pakistan where more than 60% of Pakistani
population resides. The main goal is to educate poor young
girls, well beyond basic literacy, so that they can become
productive members of the society.
This event was very well attended by the Americans of non-Pakistani
origin and youth – especially Pakistani-American students
- from local universities. Their presence was a very positive
sign, indeed an indicator that there is a wide support for
viable projects being undertaken to benefit Pakistan. Further
information about PAF/MGYW project can be obtained at: www.mgyw.org,
At the onset of the program, young Haseeb and Sadia Khan recited
Quranic suras. Essam ul Haq and Anushe Ashraf emceed the first
half with the well-known community leader Ashraf Ali being
the emcee of the second part of the program. Dr. Farhana Mohamed
made a PowerPoint presentation on the MGYW activities followed
by Azra Said who read a touching poem by a student from one
of the MGYW Partner Schools. Dilshad Shah highlighted ground
rules for silent auction.
Paistan Consul Ahsan Wagan and Samina Wagan graced the occasion.
Mr. Wagan presented a well-researched speech on the importance
of educating women and what the present government is doing
to uplift the literacy rate in Pakistan, especially amongst
women. He also commended the efforts made by the PAF Directors
and volunteers for promoting education among one of the most
vulnerable segments of the Pakistani society.
Another unique feature of the event was the exquisitely decorated
boutique where numerous elegant Pakistani and European semi-precious/costume
jewelry, shawls, paintings, and handicrafts were available
for the silent auction. Tahara Asad, along with some Board
members, organized the booth and conducted a successful boutique
sale for the MGYW Project.
The fabulous entertainment segment was covered by Ashraf Ali,
Arshad Ali, Essam ul Haque, Saad Ahmed, and Bhangra Team from
Cal State Fullerton. The PAF Directors, who made the program
a standout success, were Nasreen Pervaiz (Program Coordinator),
Tahara Asad, Dilshad Shah, Iram Iqbal, Zille Zaman, Azra Said,
Farida Merchant, Iffat Zafar, and Farhana Mohamed.