Aligarh Alumni Association raises $55,000

DC-based group awarded 229 scholarship last year.

By Bala Chandran

SILVER SPRING, MD: The Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington, DC, raised more than $55,000 for its various educational programs at an iftar fundraising event held at the at the Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, July 20.

The program, which began with 10 scholarships a few years, gave away 229 scholarships last year. Through a separate “feeder” program, the association also helped  340 students from 17 high schools and 590 students in seven coaching centers in various cities, according to the group.

Frank Islam delivering the keynote address Aligarh Alumni Association of Washinton, DC's fundraising event on August 20, 2013
Frank Islam delivering the keynote address at Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington, DC’s fundraising event in Silver Spring, MD, July 20, 2013

The scholarships are awarded based on students’ academic performance, their family income, and, in many cases, donor preferences such as geographical location and subjects.

Aligarh alum and entrepreneur Frank Islam, himself a contributor the scholarship fund, delivered the keynote address. Exhorting fellow Aligarians to contribute to the scholarship fund, Islam said, “I ask you not to do this as an act of charity, however, but as an investment in their future and the future of the world.”

He added, “[We] are here to ensure that as many students as possible can benefit from an Aligarh education. We are here to plant more seeds and to grow our family tree.  To grow that tree, to paraphrase [Aligarh Muslim University founder] Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, ‘so that there are more sons and daughters who are capable of going forth across the land and around the world to preach the gospel of free inquiry, of large-hearted toleration, and of pure morality.’”

Also in attendance was Areej Faiz, recipient of scholarships while doing her LLB at Aligarh and LLM at George Washington University in Washington, DC, as part of an exchange program between AMU and GWU.

Faiz said it was because of the generosity of donors such as Islam—who established the Association’s GWU scholarship—she was able to pursue higher studies.

Association president Dr. Razi Raziuddin spoke about the need to expand the program especially at primary and secondary school levels to prepare students for colleges and universities.  In 2012, the program supported 340 students at 17 feeder institutions.

Senior Aligarians Fatehul Azam, a 1952 graduate of Engineering College, and Tufail Ahmad, the founding president of the Association, were recognized at the event.

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