Community Rallies to Support Human Development Foundation’s Strivings
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja
Speakers and audience at the fundraising dinner organized by the Human Development Foundation at the Cerritos Sheraton Hotel in California
The Human Development Foundation of North America Fundraiser at the Sheraton Hotel on Sunday, Dec 5 th, vividly testified to the community’s sustained drive for improving the lot of the underprivileged people of Pakistan. In just a few hours, the select group of esteemed community members raised over $135,000 to support various projects of the HDF in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.
As usual, the program started with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an by Faisal Qasim followed by the English translation of the verses recited by Sami Khan. Opening remarks and HDF’s Executive Director’s message was read by Fatima Waqar. The program was then moved forward by Dr. Yasmin Qasim who had once again brought the leading lights of the community to the event.
Dr. Qasim made a brief presentation highlighting the HDF history and mission. In a span of 13 years HDF has impressive number of achievements to its credit. It has established adult literacy centers for women, schools for underprivileged boys and girls, and health care centers in the rural areas of the country. The Foundation continues to help people help themselves by working in the most desolate areas of Pakistan, building schools and clinics, issuing loans for small business, and most importantly, giving people the light to see their potential to better their own lives. Dr. Qasim made a fervent appeal to the audience to generously contribute to the HDF efforts.
Among the guest was Congresswoman Dr. Judy Chu, who briefly spoke and praised the efforts of the HDF.
The Chief Guest, Dr. Sana Khan, an accomplished physician, and a great friend of the community, spoke eloquently on the occasion and impressed upon the gathering the importance of giving; he extensively quoted from the Holy books to describe the benefits of helping the needy.
The keynote speaker was Mr. Ashraf Habibuallah president and CEO of Computers & Structures, Inc. CSI is recognized globally as the pioneering leader in the development of software tools for structural and earthquake engineering. A very lively speaker, Mr. Habibuallah presented the message of giving. His was a message mixed with nostalgic stories, hilarious jokes and a classical song. His address had an enlivening influence on the proceedings and was greatly appreciated by the audience.
The major sponsors and donors of the event were Mr. Ashraf Habibullah CEO of CSI, Dr. Meher Tabatabai and Qaiser Madad and Drs. Khalid and Parveen Ahmed. Others who made handsome donation included Dr. Sana Khan, Navaz and Fouzia Malik, Dr. Nayar Ali, Salim Adaya, and Hamid Malik. The gathering present on the occasion also made donations from $100 to $2000.
In her closing remarks Dr. Meher Tabatabai, once again reiterated HDF’s focus and importance of education, especially education of the girls. She is a firm believer in the saying: “If you educate a man you educate an individual, if you educate a woman you educate a family”.
Dr. Yasmin Qasim has successfully organized HDF fundraisers in Southern California for the last six years and indisputably each occasion has been a memorable one. She is to be duly commended for her efforts. Congrats to Dr. Qasim for her hard work and continued support of HDF. Fatima Waqar and Waqar Khan played a prominent role in organizing the event.
The guests were treated to a sumptuous dinner catered by Mr. Dara Khan of Shahnawaz Restaurant. After dinner the guest enjoyed a highly entertaining musical program by Lena Benjamin Group.