MGYW’s 2015 Annual Banquet: It’s All about Women Empowerment
By Farhana Mohamed, MBA, PhD
Pictures by Shazia Ali & Ashraf Ali
The Pakistani American Forum - Merit Grants for Young Women (MGYW) - recently held its annual fundraising banquet in Southern California.
The program was emceed by young lawyer Madiha Shahabuddin. It started with the acknowledgement of event sponsors (Pakistan Link, Safeer-e-Pakistan, Infinity Care, MONA, and Islamic Relief USA), generous donors, Board Members, and volunteers for their support. The Qur’anic recitation was done by Mohammad Rafay. It was followed by the introduction of Mayor Pro Tem Ali Sajjad Taj, City of Artesia, by MGYW Board President Zille Huma Zaman.
Mayor Pro Tem Taj delivered an inspiring address spotlighting the importance of educating underprivileged young women of Pakistan. He also urged guests to donate generously to the noble cause. Prominent community activist Mahomed Akbar Khan was introduced by Emcee Madiha Shahabuddin to present a Certificate of Recognition to MGYW on behalf of US Congressman Ed Royce (CA-39).
Keynote Speaker, Dr Sana U. Khan, an accomplished radiologist and a philanthropist, was introduced by Board Member Tasneem Afzal. Dr Khan, who had returned from performing Umra a day ago, elaborated how image of book on MGYW logo connected to importance of education. He mentioned that the first word that was revealed on Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was “Iqra” (read). While importance of education is not gender-specific in Islam, he correlated the crucial role educated mothers play in upbringing and providing education to their children. He also gave examples of how small contributions can bring about a positive change.
These succinct speeches were followed by Dr Farhana Mohamed’s presentation highlighting MGYW’s accomplishments and new projects undertaken during the preceding year. Some of the significant projects included Karachi Grants, Haripur Transportation, Pindi/Sagri District Graduation Incentive, Karachi Gift Pack, Hamida Shaukat Ali Girls School, Kot Shera, Punjab, and collaboration with PFOWA for supporting education of daughters of low-income Pak Foreign Office employees. In addition, she mentioned MGYW partnership with distinguished NGOs, which benefited girls belonging to low-income families throughout Pakistan.
The fundraising segment was conducted by Shaista Khan, assisted by Board Members. She motivated the guests to make generous donations toward various MGYW projects. The musical entertainment was lead by Ashraf Ali who emceed the segment as well as presented a popular national song on stage accompanied by Dr Sana Khan and MGYW Board. Throughout the event, talented Arshad and Shazia Ali enchanted the audience with contemporary popular songs and oldies.
The program was memorable in all aspects and the MGYW Board Members who made tremendous efforts for its success included Tasneem Afzal, Sufia Altaf, Iram Iqbal, Bina Kamdar, Shaista Khan, Farhana Mohamed and Zille Huma Zaman.