Global Activism: Kulsoom Foundation to build a girls school in Pakistan in honor of the late Sonia Shah

February 14, 2013


Winnetka resident, Sonia Shah, was an enterprising and multilingual young person who traveled and studied around the world. Sonia started the Kulsoom Foundation (now named The Sonia Shah Foundation) to build a school for girls in Pakistan.
But Sonia died in an auto accident in 2012 before the school was completed. Sonia was only 18. Her mother, For Global Activism, Iram Shah, and Sherezaad Anwar, Sonia's classmate and friend, tell Worldview about their mission to continue Sonia's work.
In 2011, Sonia was the youngest intern at Capital Hill and in 2012, she was one of the youngest intern at Obama campaign headquarters. In his condolence letter, President Obama says ‘although Sonia was one of the youngest interns at the campaign headquarters, she was one of the most determined’
Mrs. Shah shared more about her daughter:

The most admirable traits of Sonia were her love of humanity, her desire to make a positive contribution without any need for applause or recognition.  It was this desire that she expressed in her college essay:  ‘I love history because it's the best story I've ever been told.  It is surprising, fascinating, and sometimes fantastical, yet its truth gives it a power no fairy tale or novel could ever have.  I used to be content to learn about the past, but now I want to take action, to become a part of the story that so enthralls me.  I'm happiest when learning about the world around me, but now I desperately want to be able to use what I learn, to make an impact on the world I work so hard to understand.  A life spent in passive observation, would be unsatisfying.  My heroes have always been brilliant, flawed people who have acted, who have changed our history and made our world.  Now I want to try to join, instead of only watching them.  I want to serve and help others while I am pursuing my passions and interests. I want to leave this world knowing that I have changed it in some quantifiable, positive way, no matter how minuscule.  I want to make history, instead of just witnessing it.’


Sonia's family and friends continue her legacy to build the school she started in Pakistan. 'Rahmania for Sonia' is an event on Feb. 23rd at 6:00 p.m. at Meadows Club, 2950 W. Golf Road in Rolling Meadows. This event will celebrate Sonis'a life and achievements while enjoying A.R. Rahman's music with choreographed dances from Dhrishti Arts and a dinner. For more info, contact Iram Shah at 312-479-2458 or