My GiveLight Journey

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I was born in Pakistan and having spent my early childhood years there, my family relocated to Canada, and subsequently to the US. I have been fortunate to live in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Mississippi, and Colorado, before moving to the Bay Area in 2018.  I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Microbiology and Environmental Microbiology. I have experience working in research project management. Allah has also blessed me with two beautiful daughters. They are the lofty amanah (trust) that I will be accountable for, so my goal in life is to do my best in ensuring that they understand and follow our beautiful religion, Islam. 

I feel blessed to have been able to live and work with diverse people from all walks of life.  Working as a researcher in a children’s hospital taught me to practice compassion anchored with trust. It has taught me to give back without recognition and that's the greatest feeling one can experience. I appreciate how fragile life is and my biggest goal would be the reward of knowing that I've made a meaningful difference in bringing about change in these children's lives.

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I got involved with GiveLight (GL) after reading about Dian’s mission and vision. After helping at the GiveLight 2019 Global Bistro, I realized the importance of GL’s work and that any part, even a small one, contributes to something much greater, which is impacting the lives of orphans around the world. I also strongly believe that our children need positive role models who can show them how their actions can bring positive change. Through example, I aim to teach them the importance of charity, benevolence, and giving back to the community. 

Our time on this earth is limited so, GL is a means of benefitting my own soul because it creates a sincere concern for the security of others. Moreover, it gives me the opportunity to put forth my best efforts for the well-being of these children. GL gives children hope/light by providing them a caring and enriching environment that allows them to reach their full potential and in turn have a brighter future. I feel truly grateful and humbled that I can do my small part in ensuring that collectively we can make an immeasurable impact.

As a mother, seeing children with no necessities or alone in deprived environments breaks me to my core. It would be an understatement to say it hurts, and I feel deeply when I see such vulnerable children.  Our dear Prophet Mohammad, being himself an orphan, (SAW) says “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be (together) in paradise like this (putting his index and middle fingers together)” (al-Bukhari). This hadith has been my constant inspiration and has fueled me in times where I feel as though I have not done my part. 

As a person of faith, I believe every task should begin with “Bismillah” (in the name of Allah) so that gave us the idea to do a paint party that involved painting the Arabic word “Bismillah”. This fundraiser gave my lovely friend, Tooba and I an opportunity to host a fun and creative event that had a greater purpose. 

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We first started an online campaign on Facebook, urging our friends to contribute. We chose Facebook as we believed that it would allow us to reach a wider audience and were fortunate to have donations from people both from the Bay Area and from other parts of the country, Alhamdulilah. 

Although we had more ticket sales, due to last minute cancellations, we had a total of 14 people attend the paint party. Together with the Paint Party ticket sales and our online campaign, we were able to raise a total of $2904, Alhumdulilah. We wanted to raise awareness while also raising funds for GL in a fun and rewarding way. I couldn’t have accomplished a successful paint party without Tooba. We complement each other’s skill set and we were both organized for the event. We are very thankful to Allah(swt) that He made our fundraiser successful along with our hard work. We started with “Bismillah” and ended with “Alhumdulillah” (praise and thanks belong to Allah).givelight-children-orphans-my-givelight-journey-paint-party-7

Everyone had a great time! The atmosphere of the party was very friendly, casual and fun. The attendees enjoyed socializing, painting and eating some delicious refreshments that were generously sponsored by local restaurants. In the end, we all posed with our finished products for photos and the guests were able to take their masterpieces home with them to display. 

Anyone can host a paint party. The most important thing to plan out is the logistics. The venue should be kept central, with the audience in mind.  A time and date should also be decided, and invitations should be sent well in advance. The rest of the details such as canvases, paints, and brushes can be purchased on Amazon and local craft stores.

I will continue to support GiveLight by doing an annual fundraiser and being involved in the GiveLight Bistro as well as reaching out to communities that are not aware of GiveLight’s mission.

- Sheza Khalid