There is an African proverb that states, "Educate a girl and you educate a community." Heeding these ancient words of wisdom, the Western New York Girls' Schools Coalition hosted yet another successful event to raise funds which will be directed toward building schools for girls in Pakistan.
On Saturday, the annual Girls Schools Coalition Fashion Show was held at Harry's Harbor Place, and to call it a success would be an understatement. The event was not only a financial triumph, raising more than $8,000, but it had a profound emotional impact on all in attendance -- about 300 people.
Guest speaker Faizan Haq, president of the Pakistani-American Research and Information Center of Western New York and professor of Islamic Studies at the University at Buffalo, set the tone for the night in his speech by pointing out similarities between the local community of girls and their contemporaries in Pakistan. He appealed to the sentiments of the crowd, speaking of the "magical world" and reminding guests that "the same sky setting here over the water is the setting in Pakistan."
Haq's speech, along with the display of various images of existing and potential female Pakistani students, kept the event rooted in its cause.
The entire event, from booking the venue to organizing the designers and models to gathering donations, was run by a group of local high school girls. Aileen Comer, Emma Williams, Christine Bond, Grace Liptak, Alanna Downing and Morgan Webber, all of whom are seniors at Nardin Academy, were responsible for the planning, coordinating and hosting the event.
With the help of many other volunteers, they created an essentially flawless atmosphere for the event. With the funds raised from the coalition's events, the education of young Pakistani females can be enhanced.
Every component of the night was laced with an air of confidence. Not only did planning and running the event require composure, but the actual fulfillment of the event -- the designing and modeling -- required tremendous confidence. The featured clothing lines were fromAnatomy by Allie Eagen, a Buffalo native who recently opened a store on Elmwood Avenue; bi-kuz by Dylan Weiss, a junior at Park School; and Riley Featherston, a senior at Buffalo Seminary. Both Dylan and Riley are local high school students who, through determination and effort, have been making names for themselves in the fashion scene.
In addition to popular apparel, stunning traditional Middle Eastern clothing also was modeled.
The night served as proof that though perhaps far apart in terms of distance, young girls in Pakistan are not much different from young girls in Buffalo. The main factor that separates local girls from those in Pakistan is opportunity. But every ounce of effort is a step toward creating a better life for those young girls.
Christina Seminara is a sophomore at Nardin Academy.