This Friday, the UNC Pakistan Society, also known as PakSoc, will host its second annual Mehndi Ki Raat (MKR), an event held to celebrate Pakistani culture.
MKR will take place in the Great Hall Friday, Sept. 9, night from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and all are welcome to join.
The event will include food catered by CholaNad, performances by campus dance groups and musical numbers by Samaa — the University’s a cappella group that fuses South Asian and Western music.
"It’s just to get people together, help them experience Pakistani culture and celebrate it in a school setting so that people from our community can experience it without having to go anywhere else," Aleena Islam, PakSoc's events coordinator, said.
Tickets are $16, and 30 percent of the proceeds from the event will go to the Paani Project’s flood relief for Pakistan. The Paani Project is an international nonprofit organization that works to supply empowerment and clean water to Pakistan.
Since this summer, Pakistan has experienced intense flooding, leaving a third of the country underwater due to record-breaking monsoons and melted glaciers in the country’s northern mountains. The death toll from the floods recently passed 1,200, leaving over 33 million others impacted, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation.
“People are buying these tickets; they are actively contributing to making sure that we can help as much as we can when we are overseas,” Shehzil Abdul Rahim, the vice president of PakSoc, said. “So I am definitely very, very grateful to be a part of an organization that wants to do things like this and wants to be a part of this."
Fizza Fakhar, a UNC senior and president of the organization, said PakSoc's previous contributions to the Paani Project had built four wells in Pakistan.
Fakhar, who has been president since her junior year and was a member of the founding class, said the organization is open to all UNC students. She added that the club was formed four years ago in an effort for Pakistani-identifying students at UNC to become more in touch with the culture while simultaneously educating those from different cultures and ethnicities.
“Throughout my life, I had never been away from home for longer than two weeks, so I kind of felt out of place and I didn’t know anybody,” she said. “And then, I went to an interest meeting and they were just starting the organization — UNC Pakistan Society — and I am Pakistani so that was my first kind of moment at UNC where I thought ‘I’m actually at home and there are people like me here’ and it felt very nice,” she said.
During Fakhar's time in the club, she has watched it grow to what it is today. However, during the club's second year, the pandemic prevented an increase in membership.
Fakhar said when she became president, one of her goals was to increase the organization's on-campus engagement and reach.
"So we went to Small Fest last year, we organized this event and tried to advertise it as much as we could, and try to host fun events that would appeal to a lot of people,” she said.
At Small Fest this year, Fakhar found that many students came to PakSoc's table to talk about the organization and its upcoming events.
“Growth was just insane for me," Fakhar said. "We went from people not even knowing that we exist to people telling me that they have seen my picture on UNC PakSoc's Instagram or ‘I know about this event,' so that’s a pretty big deal for me."
Abdul Rahim said MKR is her favorite PakSoc event of the year and that her favorite part of the event is seeing attendees' fashion choices.
“All of the different cultures have different ways of showing their clothing and so you see all these different outfits in one room all looking so stunning and beautiful,” she said.
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