Pakistani Student Association to host fundraiser for underprivileged children

Alex Falls
Contributing Writer

The VCU Pakistani Student Association will present “Jashn-e-Baharaa,” or the Coming of Spring, on April 4 to demonstrate Pakistani culture alongside other Middle Eastern and Asian traditions.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Citizens Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing education to underprivileged children of Pakistan. Rukhsar Chughtai, the president of PSA whose parents emigrated from Pakistan, said this charity is close to her heart.

“(The foundation) helped build around 950 schools around Pakistan for these kids,” Chughtai said. “These are kids that are living in the village area that have no education whatsoever and no means of getting it.”

Even though PSA is organizing Jashn-e-Baharaa, Chughtai said the organization is looking to promote a multicultural atmosphere, not isolating Pakistani culture but integrating it with other cultures.

“I don’t want to cater to just a certain group,” Chughtai said. “We shouldn’t single anyone out. It should be multicultural, and that’s the whole point of these organizations where we collaborate and do events together.”

Chughtai said she has reached out to other student organizations representing Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, such as Indian Students Association and Vietnamese Student Association, in order to unify their efforts and stage a place where individual traditions can be showcased. The event will focus mainly on music and dancing Chughtai said, but there will also be a fashion show and opportunities for people to get a taste of international foods.

Shivani Kanungo, who has been  trained classically in Indian music for 14 years, is one of the opening musical acts. Kanungo said music, regardless of which culture it comes from, is an effective means of connecting with any audience.

“I think something like music, or any art form, is something that invites people,” Kanungo said. “Whether it’s Indian music or western music, art is something I believe has no barriers. It’s a great way to connect with people and share something.”

Jashn-e-Baharaa will be headlined by Indian singer Mickey Singh. Kanungo said she’s a fan of Singh and his music fits the event’s theme of cultural integration.

“He’s done a very great job of striking that balance,” Kanungo said. “(He fuses) Indian music with western music like rap and R&B and all these musical styles.”

Chughtai said that dance and music is her favorite part of Pakistani culture because of the fun atmosphere it produces.

“Our dancing is kind of hardcore,” Chughtai said. “You’re just jumping up and down and you have a lot of energy. That’s what I like about it; it’s very hype and very energetic. It just gets people to move.”

The event is designed for entertainment, but Chughtai said the main goal of Jashn-e-Baharaa is to raise money for the foundation. Chughtai said the Washington, D.C. chapter of the charity is so grateful for PSA’s efforts, they invited the PSA’s students to a gala the charity is organizing in May. The PSA maintains a campus presence at VCU through regular social events and activities such as basketball tournaments and hot chocolate socials.

Jashn-e-Baharaa will take place April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Ballroom 15 at 403 N. 3rd St.

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