2020

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It’s always wonderful when a group of intelligent, hard-working, purposeful women can come together for an important cause.  It’s even more excellent when the dress code calls for them to wear their favorite pair of jeans and don their most impressive jewels for a dazzling night of fun for all the right reasons.  The enigma behind the Jeans and Set (Jewels) Gala held on Saturday February 22, 2020 in Rancho Cucamonga, California was epic.

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What began as an entertaining-dream of gathering ladies to sport jeans and sets for a party, GiveLight member Roohe Ahmed, quickly turned it into something even more substantial.  Roohe said, “Jeans N’ Set was actually an old inside joke based on an observation of someone trying to blend Eastern and Western traditions. I held a party several years back with the theme, and wanted to do it again and decided ‘why not incorporate a purpose?’  GiveLight is always front and center for me. I shared the idea with some passionate friends who were immediately on board, and Voila!”

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Roohe’s vision for the gala was met with positivity all around.  The Southern California GiveLight team was ready to bring to the table an evening that friends, family and those new to GiveLight,  would not forget. Upon entering the elegantly decorated hall, guests were entranced with an array of sparkling gems which would be auctioned and raffled off during the evening.  Beautiful pieces of jewelry donated by Nominal, Artizara, Kamal Beverly Hills, Mirage by Samar, Rouge by Rooj Amir, Sunaina Sakaria, and Tanzila Rabb were exhibited stylishly on bidding tables.  All eyes were on graceful chandelier earrings, pendants written with Iman and Patience, and rings with the right amount of bling to be adorned on anyone’s fingers, to name but a few of the sparklers ready to be taken home.  Since GiveLight’s newest endeavor is to build a home in Lahore, Pakistan, the theme revolved around many items “desi.” Not only was there a giant cut-out of a Pakistani truck as the perfect backdrop for photos and speeches that evening, guests were also feasting their eyes on the vast array of  savory and sweet treats. Desi (Pakistani/Indian) street food and cuisine, chai with cookies and biscotti, homemade kulfi for dessert as well as the famous knafeh cupcakes made by the Knafeh Queens had guests lining up more than once.  

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Founder and CEO of Knafeh Queens, Fatmah Muhammad, reflected upon the evening.  “Being involved in the Jeans and Set Gala event was so inspirational, especially to see everyone come together for an amazing cause like GiveLight and what it does for all orphans.  I make knafeh all the time, every day, all day, and I have to say, sponsoring the event that day, I felt more love than usual with my knafeh. I felt it even tasted ten times better.  And it just felt so, so good to know that the work we were doing that day was going to help orphans make such a big difference in their lives. And the unity, and everyone coming together for one beautiful cause was so amazing.”

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The evening of the gala, the Southern California team was blessed to have founder Dian Alyan in attendance.  Everyone will agree, that they draw inspiration from this phenomenal woman. Roohe said, “Quite frankly, Dian always inspires me, from day one when I heard her speak at the GiveLight 5th Anniversary event over a decade ago.  She’s, MashAllah, a special person who doesn’t just say- she does. Her faith and practice of her faith also is very inspiring. I love how this organization runs and how there is never any straight up fundraising, but creative, fun ways to raise awareness - from tea parties to walkathons to Jeans N Set.”  This motivational inspiration extends to new members as well. Shumaila Ali, who now plays a pivotal role in the Southern California chapter and was introduced to GiveLight through her friends said, “This was my very first GiveLight event and it was a wonderful experience. There was a true display of sisterhood and strength.  It is amazing what women can accomplish when we come together to support something we believe in. Listening to Dian explain this process and the experiences she’s had with these orphans was both eye opening and heartwarming. I hope to continue to be a part of the GiveLight program. There is a true happiness that comes from giving from the heart and supporting a cause that puts so much effort in improving the lives of others.” 

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The Jeans and Set Gala was a great success and introduced so many more to this noble cause.  Feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive, and the group plans to make this an annual event and hopes to inspire other chapters to do the same.  One of GiveLight’s guests that evening was Uzma Raza Said who is the Lower School Director at New Horizon School, Irvine. “GiveLight is such a unique nonprofit that not only helps orphans but Dian knows how to reach each child and how to speak from the heart.  Her events are so uplifting that you don’t even notice it’s an opportunity to give. I especially enjoyed the Jeans and Set dinner because it gave all of us a chance to literally let our hair down and wear jewelry from our own wedding that’s been collecting dust for years.  We had such a good time and felt a sisterly bond with all the attendees.”