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Students from The University of Toronto chapter of the Mosaic Institute’s UofMosaic program held a fundraising gala on August 23 at Toronto’s Chestnut Conference Centre to support girls’ education in Afghanistan. All proceeds went towards a project led by CARE Canada that is working to increase access to community-based education for girls in rural areas of the country. The gala is the latest in a series of efforts by UofMosaic students at the University of Toronto to raise funds for development in Afghanistan through their community service project, DIYA.

DIYA was established by students who participated in the 2013 UofMosaic Dialogue on India and Pakistan to promote peace and development in South Asia. The focus on Afghanistan is of special significance to the students who participated in the Dialogue as many perceive that Afghanistan has often been used as a political pawn in the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan and has suffered tremendously as a result. Notably, the word DIYA means ‘oil lamp’ in both Hindi and Urdu, and therefore represents unity and hope across all South Asian communities. “We are proud of the efforts by this group of young and energetic university students that have brought diverse communities together by calling out for peace and development through progressive and constructive dialogue,” said Rosemary Tassie of CARE Canada.

DIYA has successfully brought together a group of young Canadians with connections to South Asia and has hosted several events designed to raise awareness and funds for female empowerment in Afghanistan.

The UofMosaic Program is the Mosaic Institute’s specialized peace building program on Canadian university campuses. The program has active chapters at Ryerson University, York University, the University of Toronto, Concordia University, McGill University, and Simon Fraser University. The Program is made possible by the generous financial support of BMO Financial Group.