May 24, 2019 | 60° F

Rutgers organization raises money for schools across the globe

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The Thaakat Foundation raises funds for charity projects in third world countries. The Rutgers chapter also volunteers with local organizations, including domestic violence campaigns and soup kitchens.

From Pakistan to Sierra-Leone, a group at Rutgers is raising money for schools and maternity wards across the globe.

The Thaakat Foundation, an Urdu word meaning strength, has a chapter at Rutgers that promotes working globally to exhibit strength.

The Rutgers chapter of the Thaakat Foundation, a government recognized non-profit organization, runs global and local projects, as well as donates funds to the group's parent organization, said Zamin Kazmi, foundation president and School of Arts and Sciences senior.

This year, the three global projects are working with a school in Pakistan, a school in Ghana and a maternity ward in Sierra-Leone, Kazmi said.

“The whole basis of every single project is to create a strong infrastructure,” Kazmi said. 

Locally, the foundation runs domestic violence campaigns and works with soup kitchens. To provide strength to the community, club members volunteer at Elijah’s Promise and Spectrum, Kazmi said. 

Thaakat Foundation treasurer and School of Arts and Sciences senior Ruba Syed said although club members are unable to visit the sites, they constantly receive updates on the work that is being done. 

All of the funds are displayed to the public and are on their website. 

“The smallest amount of money that we make makes a big impact,” said Elyna Quraishi, the foundation’s events coordinator and a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

Amal Amir, senior advisor to the group and a Rutgers Business School senior, visited the site of the school in Pakistan, saying it was the first tangible result of their work she had seen.

“When we would wave to them or smile, they were kind of just be there like stone-faced,” Amir said. “(The children) lived in this landfill, sifting through for valuable things to sell. The children were afraid to leave because they believed that one day they would find something valuable in the landfill."

Classrooms in most schools in this area are gender balanced. Other children are unable to attend school because their families need them to work, Amir said. 

“A lot of the teachers were women,” Amir said. "In the classroom, the ratio of boys to girls was equal."

The success of the Rutgers Thaakat Foundation surpasses others across the nation, Kazmi said.

“Our chapter alone makes more money than all the other Thaakat Foundation chapters nationwide combined,” Kazmi said.

The need for the Thaakat Foundation arose from a need for greater development in these areas. 

“Our founder, she’s Pakistani. And our first location that we did abroad it was in Pakistan,” said Kazmi. "The founder of Thaakat foundation was able to communicate to those people in these areas in their native tongue and assess how to best meet their needs."

The founder saw the need for proper infrastructure for the school and returned to Pakistan to launch the foundation, Kazmi said.

Thaakat at Rutgers—New Brunswick has aimed to promote community service around Rutgers.

The group holds a community service fair, which promotes unity among the other community service organizations around Rutgers, Kazmi said. 

The effects of the work are palpable.

“I’ve learned that you can help so many people without every actually meeting them,” Kazmi said. “I will never meet any of those kids that I’m trying to help on a daily basis. But the fact is, they need us to put in this work.”

Faith Hoatson is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in linguistics and French literature. She is a correspondent for The Daily Targum.

Faith Hoatson

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