By Muhammad Naeem, March 23 2020 —
“I was born and raised in Canada, so sometimes I feel as though I’m a stranger to my home country,” Hafsah Syed, a member of Pakistani Students Society (PSS), said. “The Pakistani Student Society helps me reconnect with my cultural roots by allowing me the opportunity to cherish the food, culture, and the company of all of that which reminds of Pakistan.”
Over the course of the past three years, PSS has engaged more than a thousand students through cultural and social congregations and charity events. After the restructuring of the club in 2016, Ammar Hyder, Director of Marketing, argues that the central mission of the incumbent team is to not only give Canadian-Pakistani students a taste of what Pakistan is like, but also to provide the international Pakistani students a taste of what home is like.
Apart from using Pakistani culture to exert the soft image of the country, charity became the signature of PSS. The event of 2018’s Qawwali Night was a turning point, where the PSS raised a total of $16,000 for the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, which is to be built to assuage the water crisis of Pakistan. The goal of PSS, for 2019-2020, is to amass $12,000 to help fund fifteen children in a school that provides subsidized education to kids from humble backgrounds. Notwithstanding the charity endeavours, PSS considers itself primarily a cultural club focused on raising awareness about Pakistani culture and tradition, Director of Internal Affairs Joweria Ekram pointed out.
PSS works effectively on building credibility and ensuring transparency, which is why the members feel included, excited and safe. Waliyya Shahzad, President of the PSS, traces the strength of the society in its members.
“We try our best to include the members’ voice in everything we do,” Shahzad said. “We use our social media to gather feedback and suggestions for our events and are constantly trying to improve based on their response. Our team is 100% committed to representing Pakistan in the best light we can.” The progress and development of the club is a direct result of consistent evaluation and accountability.
Through its events and a creative social media presence, the club showcases the art, culture, cuisine and wholesome identity of Pakistan. PSS at University of Calgary serves as an imperative to debunk the often stereotyped representation of the country. From going defunct in 2015 to a complete overhaul — legally, constitutionally and practically — Pakistani Students Society has come a long way to become “a home away from home” as Jayesha Ekram, Director of Finance, puts it.