The Houstonian Corner (V9-I8)

February 15, 2007 by  


Light of Hope for the High School Students of the Community: SASA

Community Urged to Step-Up & Assist SASA Efforts

The South Asia Society of America (SASA) at the Houston Community College System (HCCS) Campuses is a new organization in our Greater Houston-Galveston Region, striving to rejuvenate and develop youths from the Pakistani-Indian Sub-Continent in the academic and social arenas using the social roots as a conventional fastening ground.

Starting Monday – February 12th – 2007 12-Noon Onwards, SASA has started the Mentoring/Tutoring Program at the Savoy Banquet Hall located at 11246 S Wilcrest Drive – Houston – Texas 77099. It is expected that in March 2007, SASA will move their operations to the office area currently used by IbneSina Clinic in the same Savoy Banquet Hall Shopping Area.

For more information, contact Dr. Birjees Ashraf at 832-881-0580 or E-Mail: SASA@HCCS.edu.

Over the weekend, SASA organized an Open House for Parents and Students explaining to them the importance of Mentoring and Tutoring so as to enter the path of successfully accomplishing one of the salient task of life, which is getting well-educated. Just earning money should not be the motive, but getting good education to enhance ones’ personality and horizon should be the aim.

Many students get part-time summer jobs and as they see a little cash coming into their hands, they begin to say “I am doing well” –This is a false premise and leads to several high school drop-outs. Yes: High-School education needs hard work, but once this difficult task of a few years is done, the rest of the studies are not all that hard. Once the basics are strong, the higher education is not all that hard. All this was well-explained to the students and parents at this SASA’s Open House.

SASA’s aim is to work and optimize its student members’ success in the academic, career and social arenas. SASA strives to do this by strengthening ties between members with diverse yet similar backgrounds, as well as with the rest of the college and the community at large. Students work together to both contribute and benefit from the services offered by SASA. Some of these goals include mentorship programs, book banks, career and academic guidance, lectures and discussions, tutoring and social functions.

While it is commonly believed that students from the Indian sub-continent are among the most successful, staggering statistics reveal that the truth is actually quite different. In fact, many of these students are at risk of dropping out of school altogether, for a number of socio-economic reasons. Furthermore, there is a very high growth rate of South Asian students, yet very limited support for these international students. the primary mission at SASA is to provide support to this group so that they can become crucial, successful members of their communities.

Community colleges are the best place for these at-risk students to gain the opportunities for a bright future, since grades achieved here are transferable towards university degrees.

Therefore, SASA has integrated itself within the Houston Community College network. SASA has organized a broad support system that provides assistance and guidance to its members in a variety of ways. Using a common cultural background as an adhesive, SASA uses the power of many to provide a close-knit support system that includes both faculty and students. SASA aims to battle the social and economic hurdles that are posing the greatest threat to its members.

Often, families and parents of these students are not fully aware of how to assist their children in a culture and workforce so different from their own. Therefore, SASA provides strong academic and career guidance its members, including workshops and lectures that target all aspects of success, from managing part-time jobs as students to refining interview skills and techniques. SASA also hopes to provide strong role models, and social functions where the students can not only interact with one another and gain networking opportunities, but also get a chance to invite the other students at the college to get a glimpse of their unique culture.

SASA also tries to help its students economically, with fundraising activities, book banks, and trying to raise scholarships for this group that is greatly in need. We are also fighting to reduce tuition for international students.

For more information as to how you can financially, time-wise and morally support SASA, please contact Dr. Birjees Ashraf at 832-881-0580 or E-Mail: SASA@HCCS.edu.

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