Chicago IL: A Fundraising Dinner for Sonia Shah Organization, an Evening of Hope, Celebration, and Dedication, was organized at Pearl Banquets, 1480 W. Lake St. Roselle, Chicago, IL on November 20th 2015. The event was attended by a large number of eminent people belonging to different elite sections of society.
Sonia Shah, an exceptionally bright 17 year old young girl, born and raised in the US and Europe, went to build a state-of-the-art girls’ school in order to offer free education to poor girls in the village of Kangra Pakhtoonkwa Pakistan, where only 3 out of 10 girls ever go to school. However, when Sonia’s young life was tragically cut short at the age of 18, her mother, Iram Shah, decided to establish and run the Sonia Shah Memorial School.
The amazing lineup of eminent dignitaries, who graced the evening, made a fervent appeal to people to sponsor girls’ education in Sonia Shah Memorial School.
Yohannes Abraham, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, in his keynote address, said that Sonia Shah was the youngest intern in the President’s Campaign of 2012. “As a star in our campaign, she did a wonderful job,” added Abraham.
Abraham read out the message of Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the US, who conveyed her greetings to those gathered to celebrate the Sonia Shah Organization and encouraged young people to take charge of their futures through education. “With your continued commitment to expanding opportunities for learning, you are truly honoring Sonia’s legacy of compassion and dedication,” added Michelle in her message.
Girls’ Education: The Master Key for Many Locks:
Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, honorable Consul General of Pakistan, strongly condemned extremism across the world, including in Mali, Lebanon, France, Afghanistan, etc., and said that the best antidote to it, in the long run, is a girl with a book.
“We must try to gain strategic advantage by focusing on educating and empowering women in order to build stable societies less vulnerable to extremist manipulation considering the fact that their illiteracy, ignorance, and oppression create the Petri dish in which extremism can flourish,” Tirmizi added.
“Using women’s education and empowerment toolbox, rather than military toolbox, will be the most effective long-term strategy in combating terrorism,” Tirmizi added,
“Illiteracy and low levels of education not only block development of individual citizens but also hamper collective progress in a society and evolution of its institutions. The road to more strong, prosperous, open, and democratic Pakistan, therefore, leads through a literate environment in the society,” Tirmizi stated.
“Higher levels of literacy and education bring in their wake multiple benefits in human, cultural, social, political, and economic domains. Indeed, in modern societies, they are seen as fundamental to informed decision-making, personal empowerment, active participation in local and global social community” Tirmizi opined.
“Tirmizi stated that women’s education has got a great multiplier effect. He gave the example of his own mother, who had studied only up to tenth standard; however, after her marriage, she not only completed her BA but also opened a school and provided education to thousands of girls over the last 30 years. Sonia Shah: A Role Model for Youth: Tirmizi paid rich tributes to Sonia Shah for her courage and determination to initiate the efforts to launch a school for girls in a rural Pakistan, despite the inbuilt cultural and social obstacles.
Iram Shah, Chairwoman of the Sonia Shah Organization gave insight as to how she turned a personal tragedy to a meaningful cause and legacy of her daughter. She gave update on the school which has now over 70 children and reminded the audience of Sonia’s dream of engaging, educating and empowering underprivileged girls.
She quoted statistic to drive home the point that Pakistan is among the few developing countries at the bottom of the rankings when it comes to girl’s education. She quoted Queen Rania of Jordan who said that education alone will empower women to grow out of the shadows of widespread ignorance, prevalent discrimination, and persistent poverty.
Iram Shah announced Sonia Shah Scholarship program for talented girls aspiring to go to college or higher education. She said that she came to US over 20 years ago for higher education which changed her life and lives of others around her. The scholarship will be a gift that will keep giving.
The Vagabonds of the Runaway Circus, a local circus entertainment company, presented a customized and unique performance piece, exclusively for the Sonia Shah Organization, in order to pay tribute to this evening’s key components: Hope, Celebration, and Dedication. The program also included the live and silent auction of a number of rare items in order to raise funds. Comedian Aman Ali, who conducted the proceedings of the event, added to the entertainment quotient of the event.
Sonia Shah Organization a 501(c) (3) entity has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt charitable organization. To contribute to the ongoing efforts of the Sonia Shah Organization, visit www.SoniaShahOrganization.com or www.Facebook.com/SoniaShahOrganization