MGYW’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration
A Pakistan Link Report
Pictures by Anwar Khwaja and Ashraf Ali

Pictures above: Glimpses of the Tenth Anniversary Celebrations of the Merit Grants for Young Women Project at Cerritos Sheraton

The Merit Grants for Young Women (MGYW) Project has come a long way since 2000 when it was conceived and later became an integral part of the Pakistani American Forum. The vision of MGYW is to empower impoverished but accomplished young women of Pakistan through higher education. The MGYW’s decade-long achievements include providing sustained monetary support to thousands of girls from Karachi to Peshawar, partnership with four reputable NGOs which are providing quality educational opportunities to poor girls in the low-income neighborhoods as well as far flung rural areas of Pakistan. With the continued MGYW support, several of the MGYW recipients have advanced to college.

 MGYW’s tenth anniversary fundraising banquet was recently held at Cerritos Sheraton in Southern California. The program commenced with a recitation from the Holy QUr’an by young Sadia and Sami Khan followed by a brief intro by Iram Iqbal and Emcee Kiran Alvi.

Dr. Farhana Mohamed made a PowerPoint presentation highlighting MGYW’s mission and accomplishments. A powerful video depicting mostly extempore statements from the MGYW girls and their mothers was also shown. The prominent features of the event included an exquisitely choreographed Fashion Show by Pomi’s Collection, elegant boutique, and silent and live auction. The latter was conducted by Iffat Ali, Dilshad Shah and Syed Ashraf Ali and included remarkable items and packages donated by local businesses and the MGYW Board.

Eighteen esteemed MGYW volunteers were presented awards by philanthropist and successful businessman Mr. Hamid Malik who was assisted by Iffat Ali and Nasreen Pervaiz. Mr. Qaisar Madad and Dr. Meher Tabatabai were honored with a special award recognizing their outstanding philanthropy towards Pakistani-American causes.

During her brief speech, Dr. Tabatabai enunciated the importance of girls education with the succinct remark, “If you educate a boy you educate the man. If you educate a girl you educate a community.”

Musical entertainment was aptly emceed by Ashraf Ali and included performances by talented Dr. Vishal Ailawadhi and Group. The MGYW Board Members who put tremendous effort for making the event a success included Dilshad Shah, Farhana Mohamed, Iffat Ali, Iram Iqbal, Nasreen Pervaiz, Yasmine Shad, and Zille Zaman. The Board is profoundly grateful to all the generous donors and tireless volunteers who made this event a stand-out success. Pakistan Link also played an important role in promoting this event. The Link readers are requested to visit website ( and support this organization being run with a unique and effective business model.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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