Thursday, December 20, 2007

Your Dil

Your Dil
Author: Hina Shereen Thu Dec 20, 2007

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I was truly impressed with the lavish gala thrown last month on November 16th by the Your Dil Foundation, Youth Outreach in Developments in Literacy. It was Pakistani high society strutting their stuff in masquerade at the Broad Street Ballroom. was there flashing the bulb while honoree Mohammed Naqvi, producer of the documentary “Shame” spoke and a tissue dancer performed. Around twenty-five thousand dollars were raised that night from a live auction to fund Your Dil’s quest to fight illiteracy through the opening of a new “dil” school in Sehala near Islamabad. They are funding different schools and give support to different organizations created to help in the battle for stronger and more available education in Pakistan.

Current president and founder of the junior charity of DIL, Samar Shaheryar says near 10,000 schools were destroyed from the Earthquake in 2005 and one major project that Your Dil supports with its annual funds is the Mansehra project in NWFP that was created specifically in response to the earthquake. But YD’s local mission is getting Pakistani youth involved on all levels with what is happening in the motherland. Shaheryar says “we’ve done a tremendous job in expansion as an organization …I imagine we will continue to expand…the main thing is I would really like to see the young people play a bigger role in the planning, organization and work that goes on in Pakistan…and getting involved in every way: hands on.” Shaheryar knows that young Desi Americans have a lot to offer coming from different fields and walks of life and can add a lot of heart and value to this cause and eventually overcome it…and she knows that they don’t want to go to their parents’ fundraiser…“It’s the first Pakistani charity to target young people in New York…even now we are, people know they are coming out and not hanging out with their parents, they will be hanging with people their own age and still donating to a good cause.”

Many attendees commented that the gala felt more festive and chic than many trendy fundraising galas that happen in New York every year. It is almost breathtaking to see the energy that comes out when people know they can actually do something about all the problems they read about and hear their family members remorse over that are happening thousands of miles away. Illiteracy in Pakistan and the low education rates are internally hurting the politically controversial country immensely and organizations like this that are raising money and bringing awareness to Pakistanis all over the world are pivotal for the salvation of the minds of future generations of poor Pakistani children. But Shaheryar wants people to get involved in a more intimate way, “I encourage people to go and visit these schools we are creating when they are in Pakistan.” The money that comes into YD is not separated; thousands go in annually to the functioning of many schools: computer labs, teacher training, safe construction, tuition. “The main thing is that young people have a distinct voice and something great to offer for Pakistan, enthusiasm and working and being in a multicultural environment, show up and do such hard work for something happening far away,” Shaheryar says.

YD has helped to raise the literacy rate to seventy percent in the township of Orangi, Pakistan.

This completely non-profit organizations has sparked the interest of many young Pakistani and non-Pakistani professionals alike (who makes up one-third of the members) from all over the United States. Your Dil has chapters in New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC and San Francisco. Check out to get involved.

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