Chicago Roundup
HDF Launches “The 10 Million Children Initiative”. Consul General Khan Urges Business Community to Use Its Influence . Compassionate Care Network (CCN) Celebrates Three Years Service to the Community . 20 th Anniversary of “Apna Ghar”  

By Dr. Mujahid Ghazi


HDF Launches “The 10 Million Children Initiative”

A group of young Pakistani Americans associated with the Human Development Foundation (HDF) launched “The 10 Million Children Initiative” - a Call to Actionto the global community to create awareness, help, provide immediate assistance and preserve the rights of the children by empowering them and their families through both immediate relief efforts and sustainable rehabilitation of their lives.

The short but effective program was hosted by Amy Freeze, a three times Emmy Award winner from National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is the chief meteorologist for Fox owned-and-operated station WFLD in Chicago.

Addressing the audience, Dr. Adil Najam, Professor of Global Public Policy, Boston University, gave a brief account of the extent of current flood disaster in Pakistan. He said numbers don’t matter. Some people say 10 million and his estimate is 15 million children who are affected by this calamity. He said one should only think of number one because even one life lost is lives too many. He said these children need our immediate support. He mentioned that the famous jean manufacturer Levis has announced that they will increase the price of the pair of jeans in 2011 due to the expected short supply of cotton from the world’s number two exporter – Pakistan - which has suffered a great loss of its cotton crop due to the flood.

Dr. Mehmood Khan, Chief Scientific Officer of PepsiCo, who was recently given additional responsibility of Chief Executive Officer for Global Nutrition Group, a subsidiary of Pepsico, talked about the starvation and malnutrition among the 10 million flood affected children in Pakistan.

“Worldview” fame Jerome McDonald of WBEZ radio also showed up to support the cause. In his brief speech he said that he has already done shows to highlight the plight of the flood affected people.

Arooj Aftab, music major from Berkley, later entertained the audience with her four-member band.


Consul General Khan Urges Business Community to Use Its Influence


Addressing a large group of Pakistani-American businessmen at his office, Consul General of Pakistan to the Midwest emphasized that being tax payers to the third largest economy in the US it is pertinent that the business community comes forward to strengthen the economy of Pakistan by promoting bilateral trade. He asked the attendees to give their input in finding ways to achieve this goal.

Mr. Riaz Waraich of Old World Industries commented that Pakistanis should learn from the Chicagoans who rebuild the city virtually from a scratch after the great fire without asking any foreign country for any help. He said when the environment in Pakistan becomes favorable, we should take teams of experts and educate our countrymen in the building and development of our country. This scribe asked for a joint effort of the diplomatic and business community to influence the US government. Mr. Rasheed Choudhry of Rani Corporation seconded this idea and suggested a collective effort of Pakistani Americans. He was a little skeptical about the behavior of the community and mentioned that individually we tend to succeed but collectively we usually fail.

Some of the participants pointed out the difficulties they face doing trade with Pakistan. Asad Hyauddin, the Commercial Attaché at the consulate, informed the audience of various informational portals that the government is providing to overcome these hurdles.

At the end of the meeting it was decided to create a Pakistani American Business Association to address these issues.


Compassionate Care Network (CCN) Celebrates Three Years Service to the Community

The Compassionate Care Network (CCN) celebrated its three years of services to the community last Saturday. Each year CNN chooses to recognize at its Annual Banquet an individual or organization for his /her outstanding humanitarian service in the medical field. This award is given in the name of Ibn Sina, a renowned Muslim physician philosopher. This year CCN recognized the services of physicians who are members of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) for their outstanding medical relief work in communities across the globe. Dr. Imran Qureshi received the award on behalf of IMANA and spoke about his experiences in Gaza, Haiti, and other parts of the world.

Earlier, the program started with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an by Anas Shehzad. Dr. Ayesha Sultana, president of CCN, welcomed the guests and highlighted the mission of the organization. Dr. Badar Zaheer introduced Dr. Imran Qureshi. Dr. Azher Quader, Executive Director of CCN, presented the annual report and the future projections. He asked the community to help the organization to fulfill the needs of the growing community. This scribe did the fundraising. Dr. M. Gafoor, Vice President of CCN, thanked the audience and the supporters of CCN.

Sana Gafoor did an excellent job as emcee of the program.

Compassionate Care Network (CCN) was started in January 2004 to promote health awareness and to provide access to affordable healthcare for the uninsured. CCN was founded by Chicago doctors Azher Quader, M. Gafoor and Ayesha Sultana, practicing physicians and community activists. For three years, they provided free monthly health screenings at the Muslim Community Center and other locations in Greater Chicago guided by the belief that health is a gift from God, which needs to be preserved, and that access to affordable health care is a basic human right.


20 th Anniversary of “Apna Ghar”, a Milestone in the Journey of Hope

Apna Ghar, a known human services organization in Greater Chicago, celebrated its 20 th anniversary by recognizing its founders Kanata Khipple, Prem Sharma, Ranjana Bhargava, Lee Magalaya, and the late Francis Kung for their vision and service to the needy, deprived and abused segment of the South Asian population in this part of the world.

Addressing to the attendees Dr. Surender Nand said, “It is because of these founders that Apna Ghar has evolved into a multifaceted agency with an emergency shelter, transitional housing, 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, legal aid, case management, supervised child visitation and a safe exchange program in addition to other services.”

She added, “We celebrate those women and children who transformed themselves from victim to survivor of domestic violence and are now leading lives without fear of violence.”

The keynote speaker, Dr. Margaret Abraham, commended the work of Apna Ghar and talked in detail about the importance of community activism in curbing domestic violence. “ We can link hope and action in influencing policy by writing letters to public officials. We can be partners in this journey with Apna Ghar,” she said.

Polk Bros. Foundation, which is one of the fourteen corporate/foundation grantors for 2010, was awarded for its tremendous financial support; Dr Shastri Swaminathan was awarded for the psychiatric services: he provided to Apna Ghar clients for many years; Naiyer Rafathullah who worked at Apna Ghar for ten years as the Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, and now volunteers as an interpreter was awarded for her selfless dedication and hard work. In her acceptance speech, wheelchair-bound Naiyer said that it is the staff and volunteers of Apna Ghar who are the real heroes.

The Masters of Ceremonies for the night were Kern Wasan and Monika Sharma. 

The night ended with a heartwarming performance by Natya Dance Theater entitled “Asha” or hope. The performance included four items of legendary music composer A.R. Rahman.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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