iram shah Archives - Sonia Shah Organization

Harper College where Zuleyma, Sonia Shah Organization scholarship recipient, attends school
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Opportunity to Achieve | Scholarship Update

Iram Shah and Zuleyma, Sonia Shah Organization scholarship recipientby Karin Ronnow

As part of its ongoing mission to support girls’ education, Sonia Shah Organization is helping two young women in the Chicago area (USA) achieve their dreams of a college education.

One of them recently shared this update on her progress:

“My name is Zuleyma and I am one of the Sonia Shah scholarship recipients. This past week I successfully finished my first set of business classes at Harper College. I thank the Sonia Shah Organization for the opportunity it has given me to go back to school and achieve what I believe is one of the most challenging and rewarding goals I have set for myself.”

Congratulations, Zuleyma! We are infinitely proud of you and your accomplishments thus far.

“I thank the Sonia Shah Organization for the opportunity it has given me to go back to school and achieve what I believe is one of the most challenging and rewarding goals I have set for myself.”

Harper College where Zuleyma, Sonia Shah Organization scholarship recipient, attends schoolZuleyma, 24, attends Harper College, a comprehensive community college in Palatine, Ill., a suburb northwest of Chicago. The college is named for Dr. William Rainey Harper, a pioneer in the junior college movement in the United States and the first president of the University of Chicago.

The school, which opened in 1967, prepares students for rewarding careers and/or for transfer to four-year universities. Today, it is one of the nation’s premier community colleges and one of the largest, serving more than 40,000 students annually.

Zuleyma studies accounting and business, and hopes to finish with a double major in those subjects.

SSO has established a small but growing scholarship fund to help underprivileged girls in Chicago afford an education. Please consider making a donation to help Zuleyma along her ambitious path!

Celebrating Sonia’s dream on the Fourth of July

By Iram Shah

Sonia Shah Organization - Sonia and Iram ShahOn this day, the Fourth of July, we Americans celebrate our freedom with a sense of pride and much fanfare. We sometimes forget the abundant rights and privileges we have here: freedom of speech, education, equality and much more. Though far from perfect, America is still one of the places where you can live your dream. It is “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Sonia was born in Chicago and lived a big part of her life in Europe, but was always grateful for the privileges she had as an American. She was also acutely conscious of the absence of these privileges in some parts of the world, especially in Pakistan.

Education is a great equalizer and a fundamental part of the American Dream, and Sonia wanted that for all girls. 

In her blog she wrote:

Sonia Shah Organization - Sonia and Iram Shah“I just wanted to take the time to talk a little bit about why I feel that supporting education for girls in Pakistan is such an integral part of Pakistan’s movement towards stability and development, especially at a time when both seem so unlikely. … The poorest Pakistani families often go to great lengths to ensure that they can afford to send their sons to school, but rarely do the same for their daughters. Poor mothers need their daughters to help them at home, and poor fathers can rarely afford to even feed and clothe their children properly, and so view a daughter’s tuition fees as an unnecessary expenditure. 

“These uneducated girls are then made dependent on their male relatives, perpetuating a cycle of destitution in a country [where] 24 percent of its 170 million people live below the poverty line. 

“Educating a girl can aid in the development and improvement of her entire family and even her entire community, and will stabilize a nation rocked by ignorance and hardship. It is now becoming even more important to continue to fund and support girls’ schools, as the Taliban has destroyed over 400 schools in the Swat Valley and tribal regions, and have targeted girls’ schools in particular. With tens of thousands of children left without a school and a government unable to rebuild schools quickly, I believe that it is essential to reach out to and educate as many girls as we can.”  

Sonia’s dream to change the world one girl at a time is alive and progressing. We should never give up on our daughters and the future they can create for us. 

Happy Fourth of July!

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