DIL LA Hosts Annual Gala Raising Record Support for Education in Pakistan
By Adam Fakhri
Pictures by Annie Athar
Developments in Literacy (DIL) hosted its annual gala on October 30, 2011 at the St Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, DIL hosted its annual ocean-front reception with an elaborately presented gourmet Sunday brunch, followed by speeches and interactive dialog for the over 300 attendees. Although the economic recovery has been difficult, DIL was still able to raise over $400,000 to support their schools and programs for the under-privileged throughout Pakistan. Amid the beautiful locale, DIL’s founding chapter brought together long time supporters of DIL who continue to believe in the importance of the fight against illiteracy in Pakistan.
After a beautiful recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Mrs Leena Fakhri, guests were treated to an elegant afternoon emceed by Talib Fakhri, President of the youth segment of DIL, YOURDIL. Guests were first shown a powerful video presentation, which exemplified the effect of DIL schools on rural communities with vivid and personal narratives and stories.
DIL founder and visionary, Mrs Fiza Shah, made a powerful presentation outlining the current state of education in Pakistan, DIL programs and its future goals. She informed that Pakistan will not meet the millennium education goals which makes DIL’s programs even more critical. DIL continues to grow, both in terms of the quantity and quality of its programs, and improvements have been made in every aspect from curriculum to libraries to technology. The importance of technology for the future growth of DIL schools was also highlighted through programs such as the one laptop per child initiative and computer labs.
President of DIL Los Angeles, Mrs Mariam Rashid, spiritedly addressed the crowd highlighting how DIL has changed her life. She sees DIL as a way to give back to her homeland of Pakistan as it provides long term improvement and growth not only to a single child but to an entire nation. Thanking the hard work of all the members of DIL she attributed the success and growth of the organization to all its donors and supporters who continue to give each year.
The afternoon featured a scintillating keynote address by Mehmood Khan, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Global Nutrition Group and Chief Scientific Officer of PepsiCo. He inspired the audience with his description of why and how global economy is essential and how Pakistanis can play a pivotal role in it. He attributed his own success to the drive and determination which his Pakistani parents and heritage had instilled in him. He gave important facts about the global population growth and stories of Pakistani students who have achieved so much with so little.
Another highlight of the afternoon was participation in the proceedings by Aasiah and Abdullah Gilani. Aasiah had been a DIL teacher in Pakistan and her son Abdullah a DIL student. Aasiah spoke in her native Urdu, describing how DIL schools changed her life and community forever. Abdullah’s clear English after being in the United States for only one year, highlighted the excellent education he had received at DIL schools. Currently, he is obtaining excellent grades at his local public school in Washington DC. Both were inspirational and the attendees could very much see the results of DIL’s hard work through their story. Dr. Mansoor Shah and Adnan Khan further inspired the audience and urged it to donate generously so that DIL could receive a matching donation of $50,000.
The Consul General of Pakistan, Mrs Riffat Masood, also addressed the audience and pledged that she would always be supportive of programs like DIL.
The generosity of the attendees testified to the importance they accord to education in Pakistan and how DIL’s programs are making inroads to help the fight against illiteracy. To learn about or donate to the DIL programs please visit www.dil.org.