What a wonderful evening! One hundred and eighty five women came to our first WTB International Dinner and Fundraiser, at Dewitt Community Church. Those attending met old friends, made new acquaintances and feasted on delicious Middle Eastern food. More than 70 new women signed up to learn more about WTB. Thanks to all who made it possible!
Everyone seemed awed and impressed by Dr. Nuzhat Ahmad’s presentation as she talked about the dire need in Pakistan, where 10 million children aren’t getting any schooling. She explained the four literacy programs that her father has started and how we can participate through her organization, called IBTIDA (Persian for “beginning”).
And participate we did! Nearly 200 children will be getting a full year’s education thanks to the generous WTB donations. Ticket sales ($10 each) raised $1850, but generous donations brought the total to just over $7000. See what women can do!
Our dinner, prepared by women of the Islamic Society of Central New York, was fabulous. We feasted on authentic food from many nationalities:
– Chicken with spices [Pakistan] by Asma Arif, Tasneen Ahmed, Romana Hosain
– Spiced mixed vegetables [Bangladesh] by Helen Begun, Tahamina Wajid
– Okra with spices and tomatoes [Egypt] by Heiba Makoud
– Fathya (pastries filled with spinach, cheese and olives) [Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia] by Moneria Al-Glil, Asma Al-Kandari, Buthana Awwad
– Spiced potato-filled pastries [Bosnia] by Rana Melovic
– Basmati rice with spices [Egypt, India, Yemen] by Um Assem Salaama, Um Badr Al-Galin, Shahina Zubair
– Salad [United States] by Arlene Baker, Beatrice Mohammad, Lisa Munzo, Danya Wellmon
– Turkish desserts [Turkey] by Maryam Cetein, Shalaha Mantar, Berra Tosun, Toba Unnlu
– Baklava [Egypt] by Magda Bayoumi
The program included a welcome from co-founders Betsy Wiggins and Danya Wellmon. Four women from different religious traditions shared a blessing before we ate. We heard the history of WTB and about the literacy efforts of Ruth Colvin in translating materials into Urdu, a language spoken in Pakistan and other countries. Romana Hosain introduced our guest speaker, Nuzhat A. Ahmad, whose husband was a colleague of Romana’s in medical school.
Nuzhat’s family in Pakistan runs the schools, first started in the family garage. They are non-sectarian and non-religious. Nuzhat and her siblings are now helping to raise money so that more children can get the opportunities they had. Dr. Nuzhat Ahmed works as a gastroenterologist in Philadelphia and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. She shared how so many girls in her Pakistani hometown never get an education. Her grandmother sold her own jewelry dowry to make sure Nuzhat’s father got an education. Then she forbade him from marrying off Nuzhat before she got an education. Nuzhat’s family in Pakistan runs the schools, first started in the family garage. They are non-sectarian and non-religious. Nuzhat and her siblings are now helping to raise money so that more children can get the opportunities they had.