YOUR DIL’s Impressive Fundraiser in San Francisco
By Sharmeen Hassan



Pictures above: Glimpses of YOUR DIL’s fundraiser

On April 5, 2008, the San Francisco chapter of Youth Outreach, Developments in Literacy (YOUR DIL) held its first major fundraising event at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. The “Cherry Blossom Gala” raised above $25,000 which will go directly towards supporting  schools in underdeveloped regions of Pakistan. This year the money raised at the Cherry Blossom Festival will go towards the YOUR DIL School being built in Chatro, Pakistan.
Jassim Latif and Nadia Aftab, who both co-head the San Francisco chapter of YOUR DIL, considered the event a huge success as the $15,000 goal was surpassed. “We were blown away with the turnout and are truly appreciative  of how supportive the community is. We are now able to educate hundreds of kids in Chatro, Pakistan.”
A three-course dinner, inspiring speakers and a silent auction were the highlights of the evening. The master of ceremonies, Khalid Saiduddin, developed an intimate rapport with the audience with his lively disposition that kept the proceedings flowing. The three speakers were successful Silicon Valley professionals who have dedicated their expertise to help provide educational opportunities to children who otherwise would not be able to receive them.
Mr. Sal Khan spoke about his non-profit foundation - the “Khan Academy” - that uses technology to create scalable and student-focused learning environment. Mr. Khaled Hassounah introduced the “One laptop per child” initiative that aims to empower children of developing countries with knowledge by providing one Internet connected laptop to every school-age child. Mr. Umair Khan discussed his interactive computer game “Renaissance 2.0,” a virtual world that integrates children’s education with entertainment. Pakistani artists donated their paintings for the silent auction which helped raise over $5,000 dollars.
YOUR DIL SF treasurer, Nayela Keen, provided eye-opening specificationsto spotlight that $50 can educate one child for a year, $250 can make one child literate for five years, $1000 can gainfully sponsor a school’s computer lab, $1250 educate a school for one year, and $6250 can make an entire community literate for five years. In response to these numbers, auctioneer Farooq M. Javed joked that he spent more than $50 on coffee and a pastry at the London Heathrow airport in order to encourage people to donate and to illustrate a little can go a long way.
Developments in Literacy (DIL) is a US-based non-profit organization and is dedicated to the advancement of female literacy in the most remote areas of Pakistan by way of  establishing primary and secondary schools for the neediest children. YOUR DIL is an initiative aimed at promoting awareness and encouraging support for DIL’s objectives amongst the younger generation.
YOUR DIL currently lends support to all of DIL’s projects as well as specifically focusing on the YOUR DIL Nation school based in Orangi, Karachi where DIL’s efforts helped raise the literacy of the township to 70 percent -- and the Mansehra project in NWFP created specifically in response to the earthquake in 2005 that destroyed almost 10,000 schools.
To learn more about YOUR DIL or to get involved, please visit www.yourdil.org.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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