Charity gala celebrates Pakistani culture while also supporting natural disaster relief

Michelle Li
March 31, 2023
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

McMaster Pakistani Students’ Association Charity Gala fundraised to support those affected by the floods in Pakistan and the Turkey-Syria earthquake

McMaster Pakistani Students’ Association hosted their “Starry Night” themed charity gala themed on Mar. 17 at the Grand Olympia convention centre in Stony Creek. All the proceeds from their event went towards services supporting those affected by the 2022 Pakistan floods and the Turkey-Syria earthquake.  

The charity gala has been an annual event hosted by PSA and typically 80 per cent of the proceeds go towards a Pakistani charity. Last year, they used their funds to support the building of a water well in a village in Sindh, Pakistan. 

The event this year featured raffles, dinner, performances and dancing. It was also supported by major new sponsors including the Pakistani Canadian Friendship Association, who also helped to find the venue, and Wahab Shah, a realtor from the Greater Toronto Area. The gala allowed the Pakistani and non-Pakistani communities at McMaster University to come together to immerse and learn more about Pakistani culture. 

“We wanted to center the charity gala night around [raising awareness for the Pakistan floods] through embracing Pakistani culture. A big part of [our event] is giving back and we wanted to make that the center of our event,” said Momina Ali, the PSA co-president. 

We wanted to center the charity gala night around [raising awareness for the Pakistan floods] through embracing Pakistani culture. A big part of [our event] is giving back and we wanted to make that the center of our event.

Momina Ali, Co-President, Pakistani Student Association

PSA’s take on their formal was to ensure everyone had fun, embraced their culture and went back to their roots while giving back to their community.  

“While we are making sure that we're putting out this whole cultural vibe out there and mak[ing] sure that our traditions and culture are being seen, we also want to give this aspect of our community as well, where we really like to give back to our community,” explained Noor Latif, the other PSA co-president. 

Through the event, the PSA also aimed to break down stereotypes around the Muslim and Pakistani community by shining light on the unique and hidden parts of their community by representing their diversity. 

“[We wanted] to break down any stereotypes that might be around being Muslim or being Pakistani, [which can happen] living in the diaspora sometimes. But we wanted to break down those stereotypes,” said Ali. 

Moreover, the PSA team wanted to ensure everyone felt included at their events as they are a diverse, open and welcoming community. 

“We want to make sure that we're catering to everyone because that's the main thing about us. As a community, we're so diverse, we're so accepting, we're so welcoming,” said Latif. 

The turnout at the event was better than previous years and they sold out their tickets within two weeks. With an evening packed with great food and performances, the attendees had a great time at the formal. 

“I thought the event was pretty great. I loved the photobooth and the performances were great as well. There were also lots of places to take pictures with your friends,” said Yashfeen Nauman, a third-year McMaster student. 

PSA’s charity gala was a night of celebrating Pakistani culture, appreciating the diversity at McMaster and promoting inclusion and acceptance all the while giving back to their community. 


  • Michelle Li

    Michelle is in her third year of the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization program. She aims to highlight the arts and culture side of the Hamilton and McMaster community. Outside of the Sil, you can find her reading romcoms, testing new recipes or spending too much money on skincare.

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