We, the Youth of Pakistan, are focusing on what is most needed in Pakistan, as a whole. 

On Sunday, August 28 · 8:00pm – 9:30pm, PYA Canada will hold an Iftaar Fundraiser Dinner to Help Educate Pakistan! To become a part of the event, you can view the details HERE. Donate, share and educate yourself while educating others.

Please watch the video below, share it and become a part of the solution. 

HELP US EDUCATE PAKISTAN!
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What: Iftaar Fundraiser Dinner
Why: Help us Educate Pakistan!
When: August 28th, 2011 (Sunday)
Where: PCA HALL
Address: Unit #507, 4656 Westwinds Drive NE, Calgary, Alberta
Time: 8:00 PM
Ticket: $20


All the funds will be going towards renovating schools that were affected by floods. Here’s what we have done so far:

https://www.facebook.com/m​edia/set/?set=a.1015016984​5922062.303421.12595443706​1&type=1

https://www.facebook.com/m​edia/set/?set=a.1015023251​6762062.321354.12595443706​1&type=1

You can purchase ticket online as well just by clicking on the “paypal” button on top left corner of our blog and please email us your full name to pya.canada@gmail.com to make sure we have received your amount and that your ticket is reserved for the iftaar dinner.

If you cannot make it to iftaar dinner and still wants to contribute and donate to the cause. Please click on the “paypal” button on top left corner our blog.

For more info:
pya.canada@gmail.com
www.pyacanada.wordpress.co​m

Hope to see all of you!
HELP US EDUCATE PAKISTAN!

Regards,
PYA Canada Iftaar fundraiser team

Are you an upper-year student? Do you feel like you have experienced university life to the fullest? Are you just itching to dispense your sage-like advice to timid, confused first years around the campus?

If you answered ‘YES’ to any of those questions, then you need to apply as a PYA mentor!

The PYA at UTM is now launching its mentorship program, in which experienced, upper year students can apply to be mentors for incoming first years. If you apply as a mentor, you will be matched to a first year student based on factors like program, residence status, and international/domestic status. You can then help your assigned student in things such as selecting courses/majors, selecting electives, recommending affordable or Halal eating places, affordable clothing stores, and basically any info they need to get settled in university or Canadian life. You are not OBLIGED to physically assist your student with anything, (although you may if you both wish), only communicate via email or phone. It is easy AND helpful, and you’ll be helping someone out simply by providing information and experience that you, as a UTM student, have acquired over the years.

So step up and make someone’s university life a tad bit easier. Be a mentor!

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=184898021551828&ref=ts

Or email pya@utmsu.ca to obtain an application form. Or simply sign-up with us during Clubs Week!

Best,
Team PYA at UTM

Dear Pakistan,

I understand and realize that I should be studying for my Embryology final now, but the green on my Tumblr and the green on my Facebook newsfeed and the green fever at my home(There are six cans of Pakola in my freezer for Iftaar today), I am going to have to stop the studying and write something to you.

It would have been a better celebration if I was with you and it would have been even better if our people had happier circumstances to live in. Karachi seems to be burning due to civil unrest and people aren’t very happy with our beloved government. Nevertheless as you can see, the spirit isn’t any less. Our youth is just as united as disunited our previous generation is. The rest of the world might call us foolish for believing or having faith in our nation despite being the “most dangerous nation in the world”, but we have definite reasons for this mammoth, nauseating, overwhelming, nostalgic optimism and hope!

And the reasons are:

1. Our youth, our students, our future generation around the world might be apart each other by the miles, but are united with each other by their patriotism and their hearts.

2. Being patriotic is not a religious idea. Terrorism and religious extremism might be one of the reasons of our disparity NOW, but the future of a patriotic, educated and excelling Pakistan shall not (with every grain of hope, I wish) be affected by that sort of extremism, violence and injustice.

3. Our future generation is MORE educated than our previous one. We might not have that many doctors anymore, because most of us have grown out of the mentality of “doctor or engineer”. Being a part of Possibilities Pakistan has brought me closer to so many educated, enlightened and long-term-planning youngsters that it would be foolish of me to think of anything less than better for our nation’s future.

4. Our youth remembers Quaid-e-Azam’s 3 words (Faith, Unity, Discipline) MORE than our previous generation. How many adults pass by the Teen Talwar in Karachi and feel something? I bet none. How many youngsters/students pass by the Teen Talwaar and feel nothing? I am pretty sure none. Our students despite being tortured to do Pakistan Studies in O levels have OBJECTIVE knowledge of our founders and our history MORE than our previous generation does, not just emotional philosophies about how everyone else victimized us. We know what was true!

5. Our youth abroad as international students are playing the role of ambassadors of Pakistan, getting quality education and making the country’s name “Roshan”. I know ALL of them might not be doing this, but there are definitely MORE than those of our previous generations! Living away from home, family and our beloved nation has made some of us, if not all, BETTER PAKISTANIS! You can’t tell me that you didn’t root for Pakistan in the World Cup Semi-final. That would be a lie.

6. We are MORE, we know you MORE. We are BETTER and we won’t be making false, ammo conversations and arguments sitting in our drawing rooms, sipping chai in front of GEO television, cursing at our politicians, actors, celebrities, people and “circumstances”. WE WILL DO SOMETHING!

So, to all those young people out there, keep hope! This is not the end. This is the start of something better and it starts in your hearts first! It was hope that gave us what we’re celebrating 64 years later and it will be hope that will make us celebrate every day in the future. Ameen.

Happy Birthday to you! May you rise and I hope that our people don’t wish for anyone to fall, when they wish for us to rise and don’t wish for anything bad to happen, but just try to be better!

Educate yourself, rise, empower, become better and keep shining- that is the biggest service you can do to yourself, your people and your world!

I will come back.

Yours forever,

Fatima Fasih

P.S, I’m sorry for the emotional and not-so-funny blog. You do this to me, every time.

Pakistan Zindabad!

KEEP CALM AND BE VERY PAKISTANI!

Fatima is the Arts Project Coordinator and occasionally writes blogs for Pakistan Youth Alliance Canada. Follow her blog to read more about being a Pakistani:

www.everypicturetellsatale.tumblr.com

Ramadan is here again. Unfortunately for most of us, with Ramadan does not come to the mind the spirit of compassion and mercy that it intends to teach us. But the instant pop ups in the head are the worries of the the pre Ramadan shopping, the menus that we will have for the iftaars from the day one, the lists of people to be invited, the clothes to be made for Eid and of course, the amount of cash we need to part with as Zakah for the whole year.

If taken in the true spirits, instead of a month of feast, it should come to us as a refresher course in compassion and mercy. The word “Ramadan” comes from the Arabic root word Ramida, for “parched thirst” and “sun-baked ground.” In the Qur’an, Muslims are commanded to fast so that they may “learn self-restraint” (Qur’an 2:183).

But do we really honour the above meanings of the month? Do we really restrain ourselves from the excessive gluttony that we indulge in ? Haven’t we really killed the real spirit of Ramadan by the lavish iftaars that we indulge in each day, far beyond the normal meals we have all the year round? True, there is no denial that we do share food occasionally with the poor during the month, more often that the usual routine and even pay the Zakah. But is this where our responsibility should end ? Can’t we do some more? Don’t we really need to do much more? Especially in a world where millions are below the poverty line and are barely able to get two square meals a day. And with the rising prices in the blessed month, their scope of having a better iftaar is further diminished.

Should fasting act not be a humbling experience where the fulfilled experience how it feels to be a needy, and the sustained learn what it means to be impoverished ? It isn’t all that difficult to achieve. But all we need is the resetting in our minds of what Ramadan should means to us. Is it not injustice if we stuff ourselves with iftaars to the throat, while many of our Muslim brethren are unable to even fill their stomachs after the same duration of fasting? Would it really harm us any way if we decide as a Ramadan resolution to make our iftaars simple this year ?

Let there be just two or maybe three things on the table instead of a gourmet of pakoras, chaats, dahibaras, samosas, cholas to say the least. Would this Ramadan resolution hurt us in any way ? Would it not instead be beneficial for is in many ways not one ? There would be less of expense involved, less labour of cooking and above all, less of ill health in terms of the weight gain that most of us have by the end of this end. Wont in this way will we be able to help our lesser fortunate brothers, by feeding them with the money saved? Wouldn’t the Ramadan be a lot more guilt free and healthy this way ?

I am reminded of the painful memories of the visuals we saw of the flood affectees along with the helplessness and hopelessness with which they spent Ramadan last year.  But with this, there are also memories of the generosity with which the people stood up and gave charity for the flood affectees during the month of Ramadan, which unfortunately dropped after the month. Can we equal the same generosity or even more this year too, even without floods?

I can say with confidence that with the resolution of simple Iftar, I had the most guilt free Ramadan last year. I plan to carry it on this year too.. And I plan to do more charity than I did last year. As goes a Latin American prayer:
“O’God to those who have hunger give bread, and to us who have bread, give us the hunger for justice.”

Please think!

-Ilmana Fasih

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”

-William Butler Yeats quotes (Irish Poet. Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923)

On Wednesday (8th June, 2011), a young man was killed by rangers in Karachi and many, like me, mourned the death of another, another one of the disregarded, struggling youth of Pakistan. I couldn’t bear to see the video. I heard he pleaded, I heard he was surrounded, I heard that he begged to be taken to the hospital after being shot and I heard that he was left to bleed where he was shot, where my family and I go to eat ice cream after a big fat Pakistani family dinner. I only heard this from various sources, so I don’t really know and I honestly don’t want to. It could have been me or any one of my dearest friends, for all I know and of their death or anyone’s for that matter, I don’t want to know.

After a few hours, in the Blind Duck Pub of University of Toronto (Mississauga Campus), 7218.2 miles away, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union awarded Pakistan Youth Alliance (UTM Chapter) [aka PYA at UTM] the title of the “Club of the Year”. As a Pakistani, after hours of bliss-less ignorance, how can you not rejoice?

It wasn’t a show of sympathy from the Students’ Union for being related to the most eyebrow raising country of today’s time for being the soil where Bin Laden breathed his last. Neither was it an exhibit of pity, nor an event of charity giving. PYA at UTM deserved this and maybe if all of our youth worked with honesty, integrity and unity – this might just be the beginning of a better future for them and the country.

PYA at UTM began on September, 2010. Yes, this was their first year.
As a start to their difficult venture, the PYA team began a silent, yet strong, campaign – theZINDABAD CAMPAIGN. The team started this campaign to gather funds on a long-term basis for flood rehabilitation work in Pakistan. As the world saw, Pakistan was struck by the a natural disaster that flooded 1/5th of it’s land, leaving millions displaced and homeless. Of course, there was aid available for drinking water, food, immediate shelter, such as blankets and tents, along with first aid and medications. However, another storm awaited the Pakistani people and that was the aftermath, the clearing of the rubble, the search for life and home. PYA focussed on the second ‘storm’ in their Zindabad Campaign and anybody who donated, Pakistani or not Pakistani, got a band – the ZINDABAD band – as a symbol of compassion and awareness for the cause.

Later, in early November, PYA at UTM held a screening of a documentary, “It’s My Country, Too” by Salman Ahmad, ex-lead singer of South Asia’s most popular Rock Band, Junoon. The documentary portrayed a quest for Pakistanis away from their homeland, to understand their place in post-9/11 Western Society. As a Pakistani, being abroad, we aren’t really taught the sense of nationalism – beyond curfews, dress-up and ‘rules’. PYA changed that angle. It isn’t about staying in boundaries and being different. It’s about representation, at least that’s what I learned.

Later that month, the PYA at UTM took a strong initiative – The Peace Project! This documentary was aimed to focus on awareness of multiculturalism and racism on campus, along with the removal of stereotypes. As home for many South Asian communities, UTM has a large population of Pakistani, as well as Indian students. In the Peace Project, the team focused on the relationship between Pakistanis and Indians on campus and focused on the dynamics of our understand in Toronto, miles away from home, where the situation is far from easy to explain.

After a year round of campaigning for funds, surprises with Kashmiri chai and the debut of the PYA Mentorship Program, the PYA at UTM presented a spectacular, lively and soul-searching treat for every Pakistani, far from home- Meray Log: A Voice for Pakistan. With tasty food that was not hoarded like those at our aunt’s son’s wedding, serene, patriotic music that doesn’t sound like the singer is spitting his “patriotism” at the mic, and peacefully lit green candle lights spaced out far enough not to make the event look like a comfy bath, the PYA at UTM rocked the night! Performances by the university’s Pakistani singers, such as the National Anthem instrumental on an electric guitar by the Club’s Vice-president, Saad Ansari himself, Meray Log by the star band of the university, SaadandAhsan, and the talented and famous solo artist, Mohib Alam, brought goosebumps, adrenaline rushes and smiles on the guests and left many, like me, speechless!

Of course, everything is not always rosy and the team did hit many hurdles – like all of us do in our lives. The Peace Project, which was one of a kind, didn’t entirely receive a positive feedback. There were issues, technical, emotional and controversial. Being a part of a nation such as Pakistan that has been suffering blow after blow, especially this past year, I am sure it wasn’t an easy task to generate funds, promote awareness, honest patriotism and most of all, the reality of Pakistan – which, by the way, is not what it always seems like.

Our youth is misguided by our previous generations that can’t even handle themselves, let alone handle the delicate upcoming contemporaries. But we stand united and PYA at UTM is a remarkable example.

After receiving many congratulations from members, volunteers and friends, the founder and president of PYA at UTM said, “This is just the beginning.” And that, my friends, is the voyage to success, to become better than the best, even if the best is you.

THREE CHEERS TO THE CLUB OF THE YEAR AT UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA!

If you would like to be a part of PYA Canada, or would want to learn more about the team, please e-mail pya.canada@gmail.com

– Fatima Fasih, PYA Canada’s Specialty/Art Projects Coordinator

Make a difference ONE life at a time! Help One Young Refugee from Palestine to Participate in a Summer Camp!

Summer camp in Denmark for group of young refugees from Palestine!

Annica Mårtensson (from Tvind School, Denmark) is organizing the 4th international summer camp in Denmark for a group of young people from http://www.karama.org based in Deheishe Camp, outside Bethlehem, West Bank. 10 young people and 2 adults will go to Denmark for 3 weeks in July. They are trying to raise funds so young refugees from Palestine can participate in an International Summer Camp at Tvind School Center (www.tvind.dk) .

PYA Canada is helping raise $700 (3.500 Dkr) by end of this month to help support one young refugee from Palestine to participate in this summer camp. This one experience can change their lives, encourage them and motivate them for better future. Anyone from anywhere can donate via paypal (pya.canada@gmail.com) – we can reach our goal if 140 people donate ONLY $5. Please donate in CAD to ensure that we receive your entire amount.

Please spread the message and write to Annica Mårtensson directly at annica@tvind.dk if you’re interested in supporting the project or would like more information.

If you want to donate in person or via online banking, please email pya.canada@gmail.com for more info!

Here you can also see a small movie from the first summer camp in 2007:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2265404996758575578#