Empowerment through Education
By Farhana Mohamed, PhD

Consul Ahsan Wagan
Board group at boutique
Board members
A group of guests

Pomona, 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.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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