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Pakistan Association

 

Saima Ahmed

 
Country of Origin Pakistan
Length of Time in Columbus Since 2005
Reason for Move Husband joined Cummins
Education & Profession MBA in Marketing.
Family Members Husband Nadeem Ali, Daughter Shanzay and son Hummza.
Hobbies Cooking, reading, preschool volunteer, very involved with kids and their activities.
Childhood Years & Schooling I was born, raised and went to school in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan. We followed the British System of education. The majority of kids went to private schools because the public school system is not good.

The biggest advantage I see in the American school system is that all kids have the opportunity to equal and fair education. The education here covers a great many topics which encourages the children to be observant and think whereas we followed more text book learning.
How do you preserve and celebrate your heritage and culture? Most of our heritage and culture is rooted in our religion ISLAM. As Muslims we observe our own holidays and my children have always been appreciated for their diversity and encouraged to share and talk about their special festivals and dresses in their schools. We have not allowed our children to have Christmas trees and pumpkins in our homes as this is not part of our religion or culture, but we have always encouraged them to celebrate and be happy for their friends and neighbors for whom these holidays are very special. Our family follows some religious dietary restrictions which include not drinking alcohol or eating pork or pork related products and I have always found that my friends and neighbors have been very respectful towards my belief and the schools take care of my kids and their beliefs. We as a family have always felt comfortable in practicing our beliefs in Columbus.
Is there a celebration or festival that you particularly enjoy? Yes there is a month of fasting for us every year and it is followed by Eid a special Muslim holiday. The kids go with us to celebrate with other Muslim families in the greater Indianapolis area. We put up lights around the house and cook special foods. They dress up in ethnic costumes, my daughter and I put henna and we give our kids gifts on this occasion. My children also take a sweet treat to share with their friends in school. Sometimes my daughter wears her dresses to school which has always been appreciated by her class fellows and teachers.
What do you enjoy about living in Columbus? It is a fair and just society. We have always felt safe and happy living here. I have never felt my personal or religious beliefs compromised in any way. People treat each other with respect and are very friendly. There is great sense of community in Columbus in particular, people and organizations are very active in social work. The biggest quality of the U.S. is that there is accountability in the system which makes it a great nation.
Was it difficult to adjust to life in Columbus? I have lived in Houston and the Bay Area which are very large cities but it has been an easy adjustment living in Columbus. Life here is very peaceful it’s a small city which has everything along with safety and peace of mind. It’s a great place to raise kids. It was not hard, to adjust to it, at all.
What do you miss about your native country? Family, socializing our own food.
What would you like other Columbus residents to know about your native country? It is a beautiful, wonderful and culturally rich country which has given me and thousands of other Pakistanis the education, knowledge and values with which we are now living successful lives in the U.S. The northern parts of the country, which are now war torn are comparable to the beauty of Switzerland. The Pakistanis are warm hosts who will give up their lives for their guests. May God bless the United States and Pakistan because for us, both are HOME.