The Dr. Ishrat Mustafa Scholarship Fund has been established to perpetuate the works of Dr. Ishrat Mustafa, mother, mentor, teacher and friend to many. Dr. Mustafa passed away on March 27, 2004. Her legacy lives on in all of us.
She was the founder of the South Asian-American Women's Association (SAAWA), established in 1985 as a non-profit, nonpolitical, non religious organization dedicated to the education and leadership. Founded in Corning, NY, funds were raised to assist twenty-one students nationally and internationally with scholarships for higher education in America. Selection of scholarship recipients was based on high academic achievements and leadership qualifications.
This fund will continue Dr. Mustafa's desire to help students from around the world study in the United States. Dr. Mustafa was very fond of Mansfield University and pleased with its efforts to advance women's studies. Therefore, a fund has been set up in her name at Mansfield University to help further education for women and about women. The fund will be awarded to academically talented students attending Mansfield University.
As of May 2005, total contributions to the fund were approximately $2,300. Our hope is that the fund will grow to at least $10,000 in the next 3 years so that there is enough money to perpetuate Dr. Mustafa's memory for many years to come. Donations to this fund are tax deductible.
The first event sponsored by the fund was held on 12 May, 2005, at Mansfield University. Over 70 young women, ages 14-17, form a 50-mile radius around Mansfield University attended a program called "SOAR" (Success, Opportunity, Achievement, Respect). I had the opportunity to address the audience afterwards, and I think that Mom would have been proud to have her name associated with this event.
The pictures at the left are of Mom's tombstone, located at the cemetary on top of Pearl Street in Corning, NY.
As I was designing the stone, I wanted it to reflect things that were important to her. Umbereen suggested the addition of roses and jasmine at the bottom. The quote from the Quran talking about rivers reflects the many times in Mom's life that she was challenged by water - the flood in 1972, the often flooded basements at 60 East, etc. The hills symbolize the valley in Corning where she raised her family and now rests peacefully, hearing the whistle in the valley blow several times a day. And finally, the clock tower, symbolic of Corning and Mom's love for the city and all the people within it, set at 8:00, which marks the time she left us. Finally, the quote "She Tried" was placed because when I asked Mom what she wanted written about her, that is all she told me: Whenever a challenge faced her, she never gave up, never quit, and, often against incredible odds, rather than give up or back down, "She Tried". That is a legacy we should all carry with us forever.
Though she has left us in body, I know she will always be with us in spirit.