As I entered the classroom to present to these young bright eyed individuals, I felt inspired by all of the ideas, diversity and vision that was around me. After I shared a little bit about how THAAKAT began and what our goals were for the future, I went on to share why community service was so important.
To my content, many of these students raised their hands to share with me how community service had been such a moral lifter for them. Some of them came to me for advice on how they could incorporate service to the community into their professinal career aspirations.
This Thursday March 3, 2011 the National Honor Society at Jaqueline Kennedy Highschool will be hosting a benefit where all proceeds will be donated to Thaakat Foundation’s local and global causes for 2011. The night will be decorated with colors, music performances and dancing with a feature presenation by DJ Flawless! As the students round up preparations, THAAKAT had the opportunity to talk to Puja Patel about what has been going on behind the scenes. Puja is a supporting member on Thaakat and teacher at the highschool. She been working non stop with the team these last few months to ensure the experience is a wonderful one for the students.
We have a great community service program and a lot of the kids don’t actually realize what is going outside of the city, especially in countries that are developing. When the topic first came up, the kids referenced slum dog millionaire, which is kind of neat that we’re getting media to showcase realities around the world. But I wanted them to realize this was real especially because it’s a school for international careers so it would be good to raise awareness with the kids.
How does the NHS team at Jaqueline Kennedy Highschool feel about the event, with it being less than a week away?
They are nervous but they just want to see what the outcome is going to be. They are excited about new people coming to visit the school to see how they react to what the team has been working on.
How is this different than other things the school has done?
Most of the things that we do with the school is based on local institutions and events. Though we do a lot of community service events, we’ve gone beyond that to do something that is also diverse.
I feel like when I joined the team, the answer was always yes. I was really encouraged by all of the team’s positivity towards events and ideas. When Thaakat first came in to present, you guys told them to expand their ideas and inspired them beyond just what Thaakat’s vision was. It really motivates them to grow.
What has been the best part about organizing this event so far?
This is the first time the kids have gone out to businesses to talk to people in a professional setting. To get to watch the kids reach out to a community on an executive level with such confidence really made me feel great about everything.
To the students and staff helping to arrange the event, we are all really looking forward to this! A special thanks to Jane Valit, Kristin Damo, and Puja Patel.
Thaakat Foundation presents: Amani Memon
In our quest to get youngsters to give back to our communities, we meet all sorts of people. Many of these young heros are talented, compassionate and have an abstinent want to make the world a better place. Hoorah to all of you who have made a step towards making a difference. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Amani Memon. Amani had helped to host a BBQ in support of Thaakat Foundation last year and this year, as a student at Elmhurst College, she has been working to organize a prosperous charity event on campus that not only brings culture to campus but will be recognizing Thaakat as their worthy cause. Prior to kick starting planning, Amani has already raised almost $1000 for the cause, her way of saying, we can do this and yes it will be a success! Here is your chance to meet the delightful youngster who aims to inspire difference through her own actions.
Thaakat: What was it that made you realize you wanted to get involved in charity work?
Amani: I always liked doing service work because Alhamdulillah I’ve been blessed with a lot. My father always told me that we should help those in need and the only way to do that is to get involved and get others involved.
Thaakat: Do you feel youth should have an obligation to giving back to their communities?
Amani: I feel that youth should/do have an obligation to serve our communities. We are the future of this world. How we treat others and conduct ourselves in terms of service work will reflect in our communities.
Thaakat: Where do you feel the face of poverty will be a decade from now?
Amani: If we do not start contributing and helping others in need, global poverty will be at an all time high 10 years from now. I strongly believe that if we work diligently at it, poverty will slowly start to diminish in communities.
Thaakat: What is a quote that you live by?
Amani: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi and “The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart” – Rumi. If you want something to change for the better than you, yourself must change and take initiative to make it happen. And if your intentions are pure, they will show through.
Thaakat: If you could describe yourself in a few sentences what would they be?
Amani: I am committed to whatever I do; whether it is school, service work, or family. I enjoy helping others in need because it makes me feel like I accomplished something worthy. I am passionate.
Thaakat: What are your career aspirations?
Amani: I am a psychology major and a chemistry minor – pre-pharmacy. I hope to use my background in psychology and my doctorate in pharmacy to help understand the problems that individuals have. I also want to ultimately open clinics/pharmacies in third world countries with doctors to offer health care to those in need.
Thaakat: And lastly, why did you reach out to Thaakat as your worthy cause?
Amani: I think Thaakat is an outlet for those who want to help others. It allows the chance to directly affect a persons life positively, when a chance to work hands on is not present. Thaakat caters to the youth of today.
My attempt at being at being non-political.
By: Uzma Bawany/Thaakat Foundation
If one were to ask what the biggest problems in Pakistan were right now, some people might even say traffic, garbage and bad marriages. For a country which houses the sixth largest population in the world, there are bigger problems to be oriented and once those are taken care of, problems such as overcrowded buses and littered highways will resolve themselves. A good leader understands that a superior macro management campaign will bring resolve to the micro dilemmas. Smart infrastructure for example will tackle traffic, litter, pollution and the economy.
When I heard of Sir Pervez Musharraf’s arrival in New Jersey I felt this was something I needed to hear, it was something that I needed to be a part of. I had tried so hard to not be a part of the political arguments in Pakistan, though when there is turmoil and disrepair as there is today, it is unavoidable to turn the other way. The source of all of the problems come from the leadership and infrastructure you have in place. Unfortunately with Pakistan, there is neither and we can’t deny it any longer.
Many argue that there is no good enough leadership that exists today to fix the problems of the country. Everyone has their arguments for and against Musharraf, so I went in with a completely non- biased view, only knowing that there must have been something he had done right as he held the torch of power for nine years in Pakistan. For me, his strength and cohesiveness in leadership was confirmed by what he had accomplished though the global relationships and bridges he had built.
Some may argue that a bridge is not important, however if that was the case our curiosity may not ever have known what lay on the other side. Bridges, figurative and literal, whether they are in transportation, communication, technology or relationships are all very important, it helps us to grow and expand the fabric of our lives.
To some of the crowd, his speech wasn’t inspiring enough. Others argued that he only embellished all of his accomplishments. I felt he shared just enough of what he needed to share to prove he could handle the state of affairs.
As I sat there, I felt tired of all people had promised to do, I didn’t want him to come in and do the same thing. I needed to hear what was real; I needed his rebuttal on controversial issues in the past so I could make up my mind on whether he would be a good leader for the future. He shared that some people make mistakes and learn from them, for that we must be forgiving. When we think about the leaders that have come and gone in recent years, we are immediately able to devise from them those who learn from precedents and those who continue to challenge them.
Musharraf shared that he wasn’t a philosopher, that he was a regular man who understood all of the tribulations the country faced. He is an average guy, with above average knowledge on the country, it’s international relationships, an insider view on the security threats and a man who could prove he was able to handle the seat.
He explained that stability in the nation comes from securing trustworthy local governments who understand their people. Stability comes from leaders who recognize the importance of empowering the poor and the value of building up the country, one city at a time.
Many can argue that the country needs a fresh palette, a new leader, a changing inspiration. We all also know that the state of Pakistan is in such a condition that a new leader may not have the capacity or network to handle the atrocities. Pakistan is currently dealing with internal and external security threats; grappling title of most dangerous country in the world. Stricken with the destruction of the floods, it is also crouching on an infrastructure that has been washed away. Despite all of this, the country is divided, and the likeliness of civil wars seems all the more forthcoming.
The country is not ready for something new, it needs something familiar. It needs a strong and confident leader. It needs someone who understands its delicate maze. Who you support is up to you, however value that even as a Pakistani in America you have a voice. You have the opportunity to share your opinion with all of your family back home. It’s an opportunity for you to come together to change the face of the nation. Now my fellow Pakistani’s, is not the time to run and hide.
*Thaakat is a non-political, non-religious organization. My opinions are in no way a reflection of the organization. These are purely my lighthearted and harmless thoughts on a future for the country. I am not a professional of any sort, so please do not coin my phrases as facts unless you have done your own research
*Comments are welcome; Thaakat@gmail.com. Please let’s respect each others diverse opinions. All of my rebuttals are in the article. Thanks:)
By: Favad Ali/Guest Writerfirstname.lastname@example.org
It was a world cup to remember for many countless reasons. We narrowed it down to the top 5.
- 1. The Vuvuzela. If you watched any games you would have been sure to hear a constant buzz in the stadium which sounded kind of like a swarm of bees. This sound was made by a horn that is indigenous to South Africa soccer events. The constant noise turned off some people and was actually nearly banned. We are glad it wasn’t. It gave the game an African flavor that set it apart from any soccer event that came before it.
- Team USA. From the gift goal against England to the controversial draw with Slovenia to the nail biting win at the death against Algeria. Team USA’s run to the second round and nearly into the quarterfinals captivated this non soccer loving nation. USA soccer hopes that the enthusiasm showed by millions of Americans across the country is here to stay.
- Ghana. Ghana’s run to the quarterfinals, which came at the expense of the USA, was vital to the African continent as the other 5 teams from Africa failed to live up to expectations. An entire continent stood united behind Ghana as they nearly became the first African team to reach the semifinals.
- Controversy. Everyone agrees that nothing stirs up conversation more than a good old fashioned controversy. And there was plenty of it at this World Cup. Unfortunately, for the refs, most of the controversy came at their expense. Team USA had a game winning goal called back for a phantom foul. England had a goal called back because the linesman did not see the ball cross the line. An Argentina player scored a goal against Mexico from a blatantly offside position. These types of referee mistakes sparked debates on whether instant replay should be installed into the game in the future.
- The best team won. When all was said and done, we saw traditional powerhouse teams such as France and Italy bow out at the group stage. We saw heavy pre-tournament favorites; Brazil and Argentina fall short at the quarterfinal stage. But when the dust settled and the smoke cleared it was Spain. Spain, the raining European champions, a team with a style and flair for beautiful football unmatched by all other competitors reigned supreme. They played the most attractive game all tournament long and are well deserved champions.
Here is looking back at South Africa 2010 (with a smile) and here is looking forward to Brazil 2014. I for one, cannot wait.
In the past few years I’ve contacted hundreds of Pakistani Student associations, Indian Student Associations, South Asian Networking Associations and all sorts of places I felt I could reach out to that had the potential to help. It was very often that after multiple tries I would get no response or that the response would be “We need the money to promote our culture.”
I let out a sigh and just let it go. On days that I was feeling adventurous I would share with them that there was no better way to promote culture than to empower the people of those traditions back home. Really , without these people we would have no culture.
Not that it impacted the group any to change their decision but I thought a few words of exchange were worth the share. Who knows if one day they would give a cross to my barter once again.
Essentially the barter is this. As an organization, you prepare and throw the events that you usually do to promote your culture and have a good time etc. etc. except that instead of gathering the funds to put towards buying trophees and setting up bigger parties, you set aside one event where the proceeds go to charity. What do we give you? Happy feelings of jitterbugs knowing that you helped humanity.
I’m not vouching for Thaakat Foundation, I am vouching for good will in general. I’ve been on student boards and I know many times Universities also allow you a budget. What can you lose by donating a percentage of that? Donate it where you wish, but do reach out and use your potential to put your “cents” to work.
I am so proud of the organizations that have come forward to take the initiative and show what cultural fervor really is. To be proud of your country and have faith in humanity- means to take a social responsibility. In these two weeks of March 2010, Lane tech Muslim Club(Chicago, IL) and Baruch University Pakistani Student’s association(New York,NY)- are working their tails off to bring the crowd an event that stands up to empower people.
A group of students at Rutgers University in New Jersey also petitioned to have a school chapter of Thaakat recognized and in their success launched a wonderously successful kick off event. Congratulations!
Upcoming Event Details: March 19, Chicago . IL-Lane Tech Muslim Club’s annual dinner is in sponsor of Thaakat Foundation this year so please come out and support young students with a cause -Only 100 seats available. Reserve your seat(s) by e-mailing email@example.com with your full name. You will be able to donate at the door for your ticket.
*Thaakat Foundation gathers its support mainly from school and university organizations, without your help we cannot meet our goals. If you are on the board of a organization and decide you want to take charge for change please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We’ve got 7 days left for our ‘Insider Pages’ Online fundraiser!!!
Insider Pages and Thaakat launched an online fundraiser, allowing their project for Green Gold Solid Waste Management to raise money. Throughout the fundraising period, from 01/27/10 – 02/17/10, members and supporters are encouraged to the visit http://www.insiderpages.com/fundraisers/Green-Gold-1002 and write reviews on local businesses recently visited. For every qualifying review, Insider Pages will make a donation to Green Gold.
“Thaakat Foundation is excited to launch our online fundraiser with Insider Pages. Our goal is to raise $8,000.00,” said Thaakat Fdtn.
“This program allows us to reach out to friends, family and co-workers without selling anything or asking for donations.”
Insider Pages Fundraising is an easy and fun way to get involved with your community. Once registered at:
fundraiser participants can conveniently write reviews on their favorite local business from work or home, day or night, throughout the fundraising period.
Not only does this program simplify fundraising, Insider Pages receives valuable user reviews, and the community gains a rich source of customer referrals and tips on local businesses that remains online for years to come.
For additional information and guidelines about Insider Pages Fundraising Program, please visit:
About Insider Pages
Insider Pages is a reviews-based local search site that helps people find the best local businesses through recommendations from friends and neighbors. “Insiders” have created nearly 1,200,000 customer reviews of local businesses in categories ranging from dentists, doctors and hairstylists to plumbers, realtors and auto mechanics.
Founded in 2004, Insider Pages was recently acquired by Citysearch, an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ:IACI). For more information on Insider Pages, please visit www.insiderpages.com
To date we have already raised $2,700 in a matter of ten days and need volunteers and supporters to reach out and write a few reviews to help us in our cause to empower others who need it!!!
Thank you to so many of you who have dedicated so much time to helping us get this far
Peace and Love,
By: Umaymah J. Syed
Over the holiday season, THAAKAT Foundation not only enjoyed the cold weather, snowflakes, and shoppers traffic, but it also shared the giving spirit of the season with lots of enthusiasm.
THAAKAT Foundation held its annual Thanksgiving Luncheon at Hamdard Center on the 24th of November. Along with the elderly, THAAKAT made colorful handprint turkeys which were decorated beautifully by everyone who attended. Many wrote of things that they were thankful of while some portrayed their artsy side by coloring and decorating. Italian Express catered the delicious food which included delicacies such as biryani, pasta, and the much required,perfectly cooked stuffed turkey. Individual contributions were made by volunteers whose delicious food was gobbled down by the end of the event. THAAKAT and its volunteers spent one on one time with the center’s attendees. From chit chatting, playing games, to singing, everyone seemed to enjoy a good start of the holidays. Harper College’s Yeh Cheez dance troupe graced the event with their upbeat and charming performance to a compilation of Bollywood songs of the mid and late 90s. The event ended with many new friendships and a promise to see each other soon.
With Christmas around the corner, THAAKAT then visited Chateau Center in Willowbrook. At this beautiful nursing and rehabilitation center, THAAKAT spent a beautiful afternoon on the 12th of December getting to know the residents and helped decorated their common area. With stockings, snowflakes, glitter, and streamers, they gave the place a cozy holiday feel. Oh and not to forget- croissants, Hawaiian bread, and juices were also served along with the amazing ginger bread cookies that were made to decorate and eat. THAAKAT never goes anywhere without refreshments! The residents decorated stockings and snowflakes as well.
Finally, THAAKAT Foundation did its last awareness spell at the Make Chai Not War event- a standup comedy show held at Lakeshore Theater on the 13th of December. With well recognized comedians such as Azhar Usman (famous for “Allah Made Me Funny”), Hari Kondabolu, Hannibal Buress, and Rajiv Satyal, it was an event not to miss. THAAKAT was there to create awareness among the attendants that while they laugh; they can also help put a smile on someone else’s pretty face. Change is more than just a cup of coffee!
With the year wrapping up, THAAKAT Foundation did its best to give back as much as possible to the community alongside with spreading smiles and creating awareness.
THAAKAT would like to wish you the best of the holiday season and a prosperous new year ahead.
Pakistan Hosts First Ever Fashion Week despite tumultuous circumstances
Uzma Bawany/Thaakat Foundation/Exec Director
I was getting ready to write my articles this morning when one of my buddies rushed into the room and said, “Yo, did you know Pakistan held it’s first ever fashion week?”
I wasn’t sure what my reaction should be. I have always known Pakistan to be a very fashion forward country. Yeah some people, when they think Pakistan, they think Taliban, threat, bombs, dangerous. What do I think of Pakistan?
Color, patterns, sugar cane juice, fancy shoes, grand shaadis, seaside..Fashion! I know many of you have heard of HSY and Mehmoona Manan- how about Nomi Ansari? I’m not going to lie, I personally can’t afford many of these decorums and neither can 98% of Pakistan’s public but then again isn’t that what grandiose fashion is about? The type of fashion that you can only touch on magazine paper and whose thrill you can only enjoy if you’re there at PAKISTAN’S FIRST EVER FASHION WEEK!
The majority of the Pakistan public enjoys the browsing of silk markets and clothing bazaars. The fun of taking your masterpiece cloth to your favorite “darzi” and getting it sewn in whatever crazy elegancy you wish upon it. Though we can’t afford the grandiose fashion, I’d say many of us clothing desperados are definitely influenced by the pictures they paint in our imagination.
Let’s face it guys, India borders Pakistan. Bollywood is Universal, Indian beauty became a phenom after watching Frieda Pinto in Slumdog Millionaire and dosas- Just wait till we start finding them ready made in grocery stores. So why is Pakistan lagging behind in the arts? It’s dying film industry has been done with for some time now and fashion shows were a no go until a few weeks ago.
Sometimes people need that little light to shine in order to exercise their talent and reach for the stars. Models graced the runway with the likes of the biggest fashion designers in the world. Surging violence in the country did indeed grab headlines and cause many security scares. The fashion show had to be rescheduled twice, but then enough was enough and Karachi decided that the show must go on.
The four day event helped boost an industry that Pakistan SHOULD indeed get recognition for. Unfortunately, it’s the tumultuous persona of the country that gets recognized. Don’t be afraid to embrace our country for all of the good people, colorful culture and talent that it holds!
Let us cheer for better times with some sugar cane juice.
By: Uzma Bawany/Executive Director/Thaakat Foundation
A few weekends ago, Thaakat Foundation had the opportunity to be at Bibi Magazine’s Bridal show. I called Bibi’s promo line a few days prior and had the honor of speaking with Ms. Ayesha Hakki. I had read about Bibi in the past and was inspired by the revolution created by a few women and supported by many. It wasn’t however until the end of our conversation that I learned I was speaking with the brains behind it all.
We felt it a great honor when Ayesha spoke on the other line saying she always tries to help a good cause and said she would love to donate a booth to us. With my favorite search partner Google by my side, I also came to find that Miss. Ayesha organized a fundraiser this past summer for the refugees of SWAT, Pakistan. I thoroughly enjoy it when I come across an accomplished pioneer who rallies their goodwill alongside their successes. Why do I enjoy it so much?
Simply because it doesn’t happen enough. Thank you, Ayesha!
Ms. Hakki is the Editor and Publisher of Bibi Magazine. Bibi is the premier style and bridal print magazine that reaches out to the likes of South Asian Americana. With fourteen years of experience in both the domestic and international publications arenas she founded her niche in cultured couture and started the organization with herself, Shabana Haq and Zooni.
Since her launch in 2000, the magazine has doubled in circulation and has taken on all kinds of fans-South Asians, fashion mavens, young gals and all those who like glitter and glitz. Ayesha captured the pride and glamour of South Asian fashion and brought it to life for those of us in the Americas who thirst for a taste of the greatness from back home. Bollywood makes it all a faraway dream; Bibi puts opulent fashion and pure culture within reach.
Recently, Bibi launched their own bridal shows to bring vendors to those with inspired ideas. Brides, it’s ok to raise your hand and admit you’re lost in the planning process. With South Asian weddings running a span of several days and a sandwich of traditions and colors that you know you must bring to the stage, it’s not easy. Take a lookie at www.bibimagazine.com for help and inspiration!