Fund-Raising Event Gathers Elite of North-West Asian Communities
30 September 2003
Friday 5th September saw the leading lights of the North-West's Asian communities attend a high-profile cultural dinner at Manchester's New Century Hall to raise funds for the Pakistan Human Development Fund which aims to improve education, healthcare, income generation and resource mobilization in Pakistan. The event, hosted by the Pakistani Consulate in Manchester and so-sponsored by AFM CarterAndersen and the Shere Khan Group, brought together over 600 of the North-West's Asian movers and shakers. Dr. Nasim Ashraf, Minister of State in Pakistan and Chairman of the National Commission for Human Development, spoke eloquently about the Fund and its objectives. A letter from 10 Downing Street had been sent to the Pakistani Consulate in advance of the event, with the message: "The Prime Minister strongly supports the aims of the Pakistan Human Development Fund - the promotion of human development and poverty reduction in Pakistan." The evening's entertainment included classical dance by Nighat Chaudhry, modern dance from the AFM Dance Team, music from classical sarodist Asad Qilbash and violinist / composer Dilshad Hussain Khan. The evening was rounded off with a qwalis by world-famous late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's group BJS.
A charity auction led by Shere Khan Group chief executive Nighat Awan raised over £60,000 for the PHDF, with items ranging from gorgeous Persian rugs and diamond bracelets to the use of a private box at Manchester United and Waseem Akram's batting gloves and World Cup shirt, presented by the cricketing legend himself. A catwalk fashion show presented by AFM Media featured designs for men and women from the UK's leading Asian designers. The Pakistan Human Development Fund (PHDF), founded by President General Pervez Musharraf, has already achieved great things in the areas of education and health. Universal primary education in Pakistan is a principal aim of the Fund, with previously out-of-school children being enrolled into learning programmes in various districts. Two separate literacy programmes have also been launched for students aged 8-14 and aged 15-39. Teacher training, essential to ensure the sustainability of the programmes, is also a mainstay of the Fund, as are special needs education projects. In the health sector, primary healthcare programmes have been initiated, with the vaccination of children as well as reproductive vaccination for women. A manifesto for strengthening the national female health workers' training programme has been submitted to the Ministry of Health for approval, and a national action plan for community midwifery has also been initiated. The PHDF hopes to reduce the infant mortality rate (currently 90 per 1,000 births) by 33%, reduce the maternal mortality rate (currently 450 per 100,000) by 25%, and reduce the growth rate of the population (currently 2.4%) to below 2%.
The PHDF is also active in promoting income-generating skills for newly literate people graduating from the adult literacy programme as well as the mobilization of resources from international donors.
Courtesy: Smith and Smith PR