Thaakat Foundation Essay

Submitted By anabananasplit
Words: 1377
Pages: 6

Measuring 5’2 and weighing about 110 pounds, 21-year-old Muneera Imam has big dreams for her small frame. While most college students are busy juggling school and work, Imam is on a mission to change the world through volunteer efforts, proving that one person can make a difference. “I feel like you should always try to do something productive,” said Imam, a pre-pharmacy major at Palm Beach State College. “A community’s foundation is its people and if the people don’t do anything, you don’t have a community.” Imam and her cousin Sidra Siddiqui used their shared passion for volunteer work to pioneer a local chapter of the national non-profit Thaakat foundation here in South Florida in July of this year, where they plan fundraisers and events to benefit local, national and global needs. “I think it’s really, really important to give back and make a difference in people’s lives,” said Siddiqui, a 20-year-old Chemistry major at Florida Atlantic University. “It just feels really good to say I helped someone.”

The Thaakat Foundation originally started in Chicago, Illinois in 2007 by a group of college students who wanted to make an impact in social issues, especially in South Asia. Thaakat means strength – the quality of having strength or giving strength - and the foundation is not affiliated with religion or any other social characteristic. “It is open to everyone and anyone who wants to make a difference,” said Imam. Even though the local chapter has yet to be registered with a school, Imam and her dedicated group of six members have hit the ground running as far as raising money for global needs. They have already raised $500 to help build a maternity ward in Sierra Leone, Africa, collected 80 mouth swabs to help find a bone marrow match for Amit Gupta, a local mdjff with leukemia,[ and increase the number of south asian donors on the registry] and raised $600 to help relieve the famine in Somalia. Even though Imam’s parents are not supportive of her involvement, her mother stating she needs to focus more on school, Imam does not stop in pursuit of her goal. “While we sit here and wonder whether we want Chinese or Italian for dinner today, there's someone on the other side of the world wondering whether they'll even be blessed with a crumb,” said Imam. “We need to get involved and change that.” The team is also planning local projects, such as the I Matter event, scheduled to occur in December. They plan to donate duffle bags labeled “I Matter” stuffed with books, toys and basic goods to foster children, so they are not forced to carry their belongings in garbage bags when travelling. Out of the 14 local chapters that launched this year, Thaakat Florida barely gets or asks for help but makes things happen. Uzma Bawany Ali, the founder of Thaakat, is proud of their efforts. “They have completely taken what Thaakat is about and made it their own,” said Ali. “For a first semester organization, they’re doing such a wonderful job and are so independent.”

Last year of undergrad, 26; marketing in nj; started thaakat at 22
Working 3 jobs to pay off school
Guy asked if she wanted to sponsor a child in Philippines
I refused to believe that that was how the majority of people were -
I like to think of Thaakat that’s a social network with a cause – where you’re with your friends but you’re helping people who really need it
14 – florida, nj- 5, ny, fl, tx, ga, il – 6, (most of them launched in 2011)
Goal: Create sustainable projects that pay it forward and sustainable chapters

Thaakat Foundation – Florida Chapter print story

Notes:

President – Muneera Imam, 21, Palm Beach State College, junior, pre-pharmacy, parents from Pakistan, last visit was five years ago

Did a lot of projects in the past with Thaakat; raising money with their Paypal account; Uzma married a friend’s brother so she met her through that and started…